Althusser's Marx

Leszek Kolakowski


Althusser enjoys the reputation of having proposed a new, "structuralist" interpretation of Marx instead of an "historicist" and "humanist" one which had long been dominant and which was mainly based on Marx's early philosophical writings from 1843-45. Althusser himself maintains, without explaining the matter more closely, that he does not hold to the "structuralist" ideology. It would be sterile to discuss this question which seems unimportant and blurred by the ambiguity of the word "structuralism". What matters is whether or not Althusser's interpretation provides another, better understanding of Marx and in what respects it differs from the existing ones.

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