Louis Althusser  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"In his loyalty to the truth and to the Communist Party, Althusser could no longer remain Althusser. Thus, the world-famous Marxist philosopher, in a "psychotic" attack of mental confusion, as they say, murdered his wife on 16 November 1980, perhaps in one of those desperate states in which one no longer knows where the other begins and the ego ends, where the boundaries betwen self-assertion and blind destruction dissolve."--Critique of Cynical Reason (1983) by Peter Sloterdijk

Related e



Louis Pierre Althusser (16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École normale supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy.

Althusser was a long-time member and sometimes a strong critic of the French Communist Party (Parti communiste français, PCF). His arguments and theses were set against the threats that he saw attacking the theoretical foundations of Marxism. These included both the influence of empiricism on Marxist theory, and humanist and reformist socialist orientations which manifested as divisions in the European communist parties, as well as the problem of the cult of personality and of ideology. Althusser is commonly referred to as a structural Marxist, although his relationship to other schools of French structuralism is not a simple affiliation and he was critical of many aspects of structuralism.

Althusser's life was marked by periods of intense mental illness. In 1980, he killed his wife, the sociologist Hélène Rytmann, by strangling her. He was declared unfit to stand trial due to insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital for three years. He did little further academic work, dying in 1990.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Louis Althusser" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools