By Gregory Elliott
First released in 1987, Althusser, The Detour of idea was once largely got because the fullest account of its topic to this point. Drawing on a variety of hitherto untranslated fabric, it tested the political and highbrow contexts of Althusser’s ‘return to Marx’ within the mid-1960s; analysed the unconventional personality of the Marxism built in his significant works; charted their author’s next evolution, from his self-criticism to the proclamation of a ‘crisis of Marxism’; and concluded with a balance-sheet of Althusser’s contribution to historic materialism.
For this moment variation, Gregory Elliott has extra a considerable postscript during which he surveys the posthumous version of the French philosopher’s paintings released within the Nineties, from the early writings of the Forties via to the overdue texts of the Nineteen Eighties, referring to the unknown Althusser published through them to the standard determine of For Marx and studying Capital, including a complete bibliography of Althusser’s oeuvre.
[…]The Detour of thought needs to be counted as among the easiest biographies of a postwar Marxist; Elliott, intimately, tracks Althusser’s various positions over the years at the nature of philosophy and its relation to technological know-how and old materialism.
Simon Chilvers, Macquarie college, evaluate of Radical Political Economics, March 2011, forty three: 115-117
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Additional resources for Althusser: The Detour of Theory (2nd Edition) (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 13)
37 A third early text, ‘On the Objectivity of History’ (1955) – an open letter to Paul Ricoeur – also treated an issue which would preoccupy Althusser: the question of the foundation of a science of history. Reproving Raymond Aron for relativism, he argued that history possessed a similar ‘rationality’ to that of the natural sciences. Ricoeur was to be commended for demonstrating that: the level of history is not that of immediate experience, that history as science is not – and cannot be – a resurrection of the past, that historical science is a knowledge of history.
Redemption from Stalinised Marxism seemed to require one or all of: revocation of any ‘scientistic’ pretensions to scientiﬁcity; positive reevaluation of the young Marx; recasting of the whole of Marx’s œuvre along the lines of the early works, or, alternatively, demotion of almost everything after the Communist Manifesto. At the very least, Engels had to go. In general, one can say that, where the 1859 Preface had been, there the 1844 Manuscripts would be. Where once the centre-piece of Marxism had been the productive forces, now it was to be alienation, reiﬁcation and cognate themes.
Cf. , pp. 190–1, 261, 450. 58 Althusser 1969a, p. 222. 59 Althusser 1969a, p. 223. 22 • Chapter One every philosophical anthropology or humanism is no secondary detail; it is Marx’s scientiﬁc discovery’. 60 Socialist humanism, masquerading as Marxism, was no more than the ‘practical ideology’ of the USSR. It furnished a compelling ethical critique of the inhuman form taken by the dictatorship of the proletariat under Stalin, but was otherwise ‘an imaginary treatment of real problems’61 characteristic of ideology.
Althusser: The Detour of Theory (2nd Edition) (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 13) by Gregory Elliott