Download Althusser and His Contemporaries: Philosophy’s Perpetual War by Warren Montag PDF

By Warren Montag

Althusser and His Contemporaries alters and expands realizing of Louis Althusser and French philosophy of the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. millions of pages of formerly unpublished paintings from various classes of Althusser's profession were made on hand in French considering the fact that his demise in 1990. in line with meticulous research of the philosopher's posthumous courses, in addition to his unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, and marginalia, Warren Montag presents a thoroughgoing reevaluation of Althusser's philosophical undertaking.

Montag indicates that the theorist was once intensely engaged with the paintings of his contemporaries, relatively Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lacan. reading Althusser's philosophy as a chain of encounters together with his peers' proposal, Montag contends that Althusser's significant philosophical confrontations revolved round 3 issues: constitution, topic, and beginnings and endings. examining Althusser studying his contemporaries, Montag sheds new gentle on structuralism, poststructuralism, and the intense second of French suggestion within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies.

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Extra info for Althusser and His Contemporaries: Philosophy’s Perpetual War

Example text

But which, to the extent they are rooted in an infinite nature that exhibits its own history, prove utterly indifferent to that of humankind, and thus arrive at static models whose transformation remains unintelligible, or the possibility of historical explanation fades in the face of an infinity of causes. It was Hegel, according to Althusser, who was Montesquieu’s immediate descendant, resolving the contradictions that disrupted The Spirit of the Laws with a rigorously “spiritual” conception of the whole or totality.

2 It also, however, and perhaps even more importantly, reflected his excitement at contemporary developments in the sciences, social sciences, and in philosophy—his sense that his own work was part of a larger movement. Indeed, his voluminous correspondence with Franca Madonia, the Italian translator of Althusser and Lévi-­Strauss during the crucial years 1961– 68, reveals the eagerness with which Althusser devoured the monuments of structuralism. In November 1962 he reports the extraordinary nature of his encounter with Foucault’s Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique: I am in the midst of reading, what might be called reading, quickly and deeply, reacting to every sign at each instant, taking notes so that no idea escapes me—the little devils sometimes move more quickly than my pen—a capital book.

The goal here is a “universal syntax,” which governs the formulation of any scientific utterance, the logic of all possible scientific discoveries in which the law of iteration operates. Its very validity, however, depends upon the theory’s being self-­sufficient, in no way dependent on a reality outside of itself, part of which may not yet be known: everything is knowable in principle. But this syntax accounts only for the form of discoveries, not their content: we cannot derive the semantic dimension from the syntactical, as the problem of the relationship between mathematics and physics shows.

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