Overview for The Spectre of Hegel
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Louis Althusser enjoyed virtually unrivalled status as the foremost living Marxist philosopher. Today, he is remembered as the scourge and severest critic of â€˜humanistâ€™ or Hegelian Marxism, as the proponent of rigorously scientific socialism, and as the theorist who posited a sharp ruptureâ€”an epistemological breakâ€”between the early and the late Marx. This collection of texts from the period 1945â€“53 turns these interpretations of Althusser on their heads: we discover that there was a â€˜young Althusserâ€™ as well as the â€˜mature Althusserâ€™ we are already familiar with. In his fascinating Masterâ€™s thesis â€˜On the Content in the Thought of G. W. F. Hegelâ€™ (1947), Althusser developed a position which he was later to attack ferociously: namely that the revolutionary potential of the Hegelian dialectic could be defended against Hegelâ€™s own political conservatism. We see Althusser still wrestling with the spectres of Hegel and of Catholicism in another long text, his letter to Jean Lacroix and finally, we see his own â€˜epistemological breakâ€™ in the piece â€˜On Marxismâ€™ from 1953. Other texts included are his critique of Alexander Koj?ve (whose interpretation Francis Fukuyama has recently revived) and his attack on the French Churchâ€™s teachings on women, sex and the family. Widely recognized as an intellectual giant of the late twentieth century, Althusser has left a towering legacy. This collection not only gives a unique insight into the formation of such a personality, but will also restore the â€˜unknown Althusserâ€™ to the centre of the history of Marxism and of philosophy since the Second World War. Louis Althusser was born in Algeria in 1918 and died in Paris in 1990. Among his other works translated into English are For Marx, Reading Capital, Essays in Ideology and Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists.
Louis Althusser (Author)
Louis Althusser studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and taught philosophy there from 1948. His books include for Marx and Reading Capital, both initially published in 1965, and Machiavelli and Us, published posthumously in 1999. He was a member of the French Communist Party and an independent voice within the French left. He died in 1990
G.M. Goshgarian (Translator)
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