At present, Althusser’s philosophy as a whole is undergoing a critical is closely related to the idea of “overdetermination” or the theory that. Thus overdetermination is used to refer to multiple causality – or for instance in Freud a hysterical symptom or in Althusser a revolutionary situation – or just the. While he borrowed the word and idea of dialectic from Hegel, Althusser insists that Marx The concept of overdetermination is Althusser’s way of expressing the.

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Historicists, even those who claim to be Marxists, reject the classical Marxist distinction between historical and dialectical overdeterminationn since they see philosophy as the overdetermiation of the historical process, and hence identify philosophy and the science of history; at best, dialectical materialism is reduced to the historical method, while the science of history is its content.

During the decades in which he became internationally known for his re-thinking of Marxist philosophy, Althusser continued in his post at the ENS. Overdeterminatiob Althusser A Hegelian concept popular among Marxist-humanists, it denotes the process of historical development by the destruction and retention at a higher level of an old historically determined situation in a new historically determined situation — e.

Presses universitaires de France. Marxist philosophers, he maintained, could be useful to scientists by pointing out, from the standpoint of politics and by the method of historical critique, where and how some of the concepts scientists employed were ideological.

In political practice this unity takes another form not examined in this book.

However, the science of Historical Materialism has revealed the desire for such orders to be historically generated along with the ideas about human nature that justify them.

For the most part, the essays collected in For Marx and the seminar papers issued as Reading Capital develop and utilize this method of reading in order to justify and describe Marxist philosophy and Marxist science as well as to distinguish between these two theoretical activities.

As the effect of these recognitions is to continue existing social relations, Althusser argued that a Dictatorship of the Proletariat is necessary so that Ideological State Apparatuses productive of the bourgeois subject can be replaced with those productive of proletarian or communist subjects. While the productive forces cannot be reduced to machines or quantifiable techniques, the relations of production can not be reduced to relations between men alone, to human relations or inter-subjectivity, as they are in the historicist ideology.

The Detour of TheoryNew York: Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: I could go further, and suggest that in the well-known passage: Resnick and Richard D.

All the different aspects shape and are shaed by all the others. Also dismissed, he maintains, is the myth that somehow philosophy and philosophers are autonomous, that they see the world from outside and objectively.


That Althusser regards most, if not all, human activity as consisting of material processes of production and reproduction can be used as a key to understanding other parts of his philosophy.

The simultaneous enthusiasm that Althusser showed in Lyon for Royalist politics did not last the war. However, the actual case is not so simple. The distribution of products is evidently only a result of this distribution, which is comprised within the process of production itself and determines the structure of production.

On the side of the means of production we find the already familiar distinction between the object of production, e.

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This is not a subjective mystification, but the mode of appearance of reality Marx calls it a reality — Wirklichkeit. If this communication is successful, Althusser maintained, one should not expect all political activity to be successful.

Always a good pupil, Althusser excelled in his studies and became active in the Scouts.

The particular form and mode die besondere Art und Wise in which this connection is effected is what distinguishes the various economic epochs of the social structure Gesellschaftsstruktur CapitalVol. After all, pedagogic systems do change in history. In the text I have just quoted, we have seen Marx prove that a certain form of combination of the elements present necessarily implies a certain form of domination and servitude indispensable to the survival of this combination, i.

However, and as was detailed above, Althusser rejects the simple understanding of overdeterminayion offered by this model in which economic practices order consciousness and our cultural practices. For example, the German Social-Democrats at the end of the nineteenth century imagined that they would shortly be promoted to socialist triumph by virtue of belonging to the most powerful capitalist State, then undergoing rapid economic growth, just as they were experiencing rapid electoral growth such coincidences do occur.

Lenin said this time and time again, and Stalin summarised it in particularly clear terms in his April altuhsser. Hegel, therefore, argues that every. With the perspective afforded by the mass of posthumous writings published since the s, it has become clear that Althusser was perennially concerned with important issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, historiography, hermeneutics, and political philosophy.

This version of Marxist overdetermintaion had dominated European leftist thought and action since the dawn of the Cold War in and, in France, was widely disseminated via Communist Party schools and literature.

However, before the school year began, he was mobilized into the army. This shows that certain relations of production presuppose the existence of a legal-political and ideological superstructure as a condition of their peculiar existence, and why this superstructure is necessarily specific since it is a function of the specific relations of production that call for it.


Overdetermination – Wikipedia

Unfortunately for this neat overdeterjination, this is not Marx. Balibar shows that they are in fact merely the concept of the pattern of development peculiar to a mode of production, the concept of the limits of variation of its movement and of the eventual barriers to its development, i. First, with the idea that human individuals are merely one of the sites at which the contradictory productive forces that characterize an era are enacted, Althusser signals that the primary object of social philosophy is not the human individual.

They forgot that, in fact, this simple quintessence of contradiction was allthusser simply abstract: In other words, they are ideological. Althusser takes up the theory introduced by Engels and much elaborated by Mao Tse-tung that economic, political and ideological practice are the three practices processes of production or transformation that constitute the social formation.

How else could the class-divided popular masses proletarians, peasants, petty bourgeois throw themselves togetherconsciously or unconsciously, into a general assault on the existing regime? This mistake was, fundamentally, an epistemological one: These concepts are generally taken even by some Marxists to mean the machines or their productivity on the one hand, and the human relations between overdeterminatipn members of a society on the other.

This study, however, would wait until the beginning of the next decade. There is therefore a unique linear time in which the totality of historical possibilities unfolds.

Further, he argued that philosophy still had a role to play in the clarification of scientific concepts. Gallimard,—; tr. Thus base and super-structure must not be conceived as vulgar Marxism conceives them, as essence and phenomenon, the State and ideology are not mere expressions of the economy, they are autonomous within a structured whole where one aspect is dominant, this dominance being determined in the last instance by the economy. First among overdettermination, following Democritus, is the thesis that matter is all that exists.

Philosophy in Turbulent Times: And how else could the ruling classes aristocrats, big bourgeois, industrial bourgeois, finance bourgeois, etc. The relations between the agents of production are then the result of the typical relations they maintain with the means of production object, instruments and of their distribution into groups defined and localized overetermination in their relations with the means of production by the structure of production.

There can be no doubt that these survivals exist — they cling tenaciously to life.