Continental Philosophy


Who was Louis Althusser?

Louis Althusser (1918–1990) was a philosopher who was also a member of the French Communist Party. He is known for For Marx (1965), Reading Capital (1968) and especially Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (1978). His main project was to derive from Karl Marx’s (1818–1883) writings a scientific system. He viewed science as governed by systems of concepts, or “problematics,” that set questions, evidence, and importance. Althusser argued that structures which express ideologies are self-perpetuating and not subject to changing historical forces, as Marx had claimed. Althusser killed his wife in 1980 and was committed to a psychiatric facility, thereby ending his academic career.

Claude Lévi-Strauss applied theories of language systems to the ways people relate to each other (AP).

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