- Althusser, Louis
- (1918–1990)French Marxist, noted for dismissing the early work of Marx in favour of the later emphasis on dialectical materialism. This is seen through a structuralist filter, whereby interlocking combinations of political, economic, ideological, and theoretical structures and practices form objective determinants of resulting social forces. Althusser's true Marx is therefore anti-empiricist, anti-humanist, and anti-historicist. Even in its time this reinterpretation was severely criticized as divorcing Marx from the sphere of political activity. Althusser's reputation declined after he murdered his wife (Hélène Rytmann, a sociologist) in 1980 and was confined to a psychiatric hospital. However the view of the apparently active subject as nothing more than the locus of conflicting social forces remains extremely influential. Althusser's works include Pour Marx (1965, trs. as For Marx, 1969) and Lire le Capital (1965, trs. as Reading Capital, 1970).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.