On the Reproduction of the Conditions of Production  I must now expose more fully something which was briefly glimpsed in my analysis when I spoke of the necessity to renew the means of production if production is to be possible. That was a passing hint. Now I shall consider it for itself. As Marx said, every child knows that a social formation which did not reproduce the conditions of production at the same time as it produced would not last a year.
Louis Althusser Aligned with the French Communist Partyphilosopher Louis Althusser strove to explain contemporary developments by reinterpreting the doctrines of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
He was briefly imprisoned in concentration camps in World War II. In he strangled his wife and lived most of the next ten years, until his death inconfined to mental asylums.
During the Nazi occupation of France his thinking underwent a radical transformation, as he along with many others embraced Marxist ideologies. During this time he found himself involved with the French Resistance and attracted to one of its more prominent activists, Helene Legotier, eight years his senior and a member of the French Communist Party PCF.
In Althusser also joined the party. After the war Legotier continued her activism, while Althusser spent most of his time in academia. Althusser attempted to reconcile the views of French structuralism with those of Marxism by denying the primary role of the individual subject in the face of historically unfolding social structures.
His most important works are For MarxLenin and Philosophyand his contributions to a book of essays called Reading Capital, all of which were popular with student revolutionaries during the decade of social upheaval in the s. While many Marxists were looking for a more "humane" alternative to the totalitarianism unfolding in the Soviet Union and a way to resolve the split caused by the Chinese revolution, Althusser, taking the opposite tack, proposed a purely scientific approach, one he ascribed to the maturing Marx himself in For Marx, In Reading Capital and in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays he aimed at an objective account of how the total society works from its technological top down, generating the classes that run and do the work of a society.
In the latter collection he described how such a structure operates through the languages we speak in common. These, he said, tend to instill in people their sense of reality and of themselves and their social roles, all in the interest of perpetuating the order of the given society: In the structuralist view society cannot be understood through the subjective experience of individuals seen as in some way differentiated from the unfolding processes in which they are enmeshed.
A society functions as a single organism in a manner determined by its technology and its modes of production. Every individual action is solely determined by its role in relation to that technology. The Chinese experience reminded Marxists that "contradictions" were the essence of their world view; unity is achieved only through the play of opposites, and all "wholes" contain and even consist of the struggles internal to them.
As an organism breaks down food to build up nourishment, the state takes life to protect itself. Later disciples of Althusser would point out that both language and personality reveal inherent tensions in the makeup of the self.
These as oppositions can be counted on to result in change and progress as they are products of the internalization of "idealistic" structures in the society as a whole.
Marxists who preferred to see change as brought on from "the bottom up" the oppressed, the working class criticized Althusser for this scheme of resistance from "the inside out" the repressed inside any group, body, or system: Others found this to be one of his most fruitful new turns of thought.
Madness and Obscurity Althusser long suffered as a manic depressive, Legotier acting as his nurse. In they were married, but in November of the philosopher strangled his wife to death and was committed to a Paris hospital for the insane.
He spent the last ten years of his life in and out of various institutions. During this time he continued to write essays, attempting to explain his homicidal action in the light of a wider social analysis. A posthumous autobiography of collected memoirs, The Future Lasts Forever, was published in Further Reading A great deal has been written on Louis Althusser and his theories.
Books discussing Althusser and his theories include the first volume of a biography by his friend Yann Moulier Boutang, Louis Althusser:Louis Althusser Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays.
Lenin and Philosophy. Written: February ; Nodal Point No. 2, the instance of Politics, is not, despite his mention of tendency struggles in philosophy. In other words, Lenin is not just a commentator of Engels; Louis Althusser Archive. Buy a cheap copy of Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays book by Louis Althusser.
No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in .
LENIN AND PHILOSOPHY AND OTHER ESSAYS [ - Part 2 - ] T R A N S L A T E D F R O M T H E F R E N C H , pp. 12, , ; see also the letter to Tatiana Schucht, 7 September , in Lettre del Carcere, Einaudi, , p.
English-language translation in preparation. Louis Althusser agreed to let New Left Review . Althusser lenin and philosophy and other essays silver.
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Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays consists of eight distinct essays. I have not, however, prepared them as separate files. Rather, your choices are limited to downloading each of the two parts (of roughly equal size) into which I have grouped the texts or you may download the larger single file containing the entire contents (k).