This is part of the reading series we're doing in the Continental Floppa reading group formerly the anti-Anglo reading group
. The plan is to read 1 chapter per week (breaking up chapter 3 into the 3 lectures). This is a selection of lectures and essays by Louis Althusser on the topics of philosophy relative to science and politics. This thread is for discussion and to invite people to the reading group, which can be found here https://matrix.to/#/!mjlMGagFTDhvgxMWhY:matrix.org/
Our schedule has recently changed. We now discuss on Sundays.
UTC (UTC +0) 19:00 (5pm) Universal time
EDT (UTC -4) 15:00 (3pm) Eastern US (daylight savings time)
CEST (UTC +2) 21:00 (7pm) Central Europe (summer time)
The next session will be Sunday 27th June, covering essay 1:Theory, Theoretical Practice and Theoretical Formation: Ideology and Ideological Struggle
<Transcriber's Note – The following collection of essays span the period 1965-1978 and give expression to what some might characterize as a "right-ward drift" in certain of Althusser's political and ideological positions. Two of the seven essays listed in the table of contents below appear in other collections of this site and are not reproduced here.
Here are external links to these essays.#4 Lenin and Philosophy
which can be found herehttps://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/althusser/1968/lenin-philosophy.htm#5 Is it Simple to be a Marxist in Philosophy?http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/ESC76ii.html#s3
I didn't expect a good take on dialectical materialism when I was a few pages in. After a while, I really liked what he was saying and I think it's a very coherent exposition of the topic.
Internet marxists hyperfocus on geopolitics and economics. But if we are to be a bastion of anti-liberal leftism, a proper revolutionary philosophy of science is needed.
Capitalism has changed a lot since Marx's time, and while the fundamentals of Capital (the book) are crucial to understand modern economics, a good philosophy of science is necessary to navigate the qualitative changes that have occurred since Marx's time. This includes avoiding dogmatism in the interpretation of Marxism as it pertains to contemporary capitalism, which many MLs engage in.
I've said before that I disagree that dialectical materialism and historical materialism were different things. Althusser has changed my mind and I like his interpretation. If I ever get asked what diamat or histmat is, I'll try to incorporate some of his ideas.
Our book club has been somewhat focused on marxist philosophy of science, I'm glad we're back with this text.
I'm looking forward to this. Is there any prerequisite reading for this?
Althusser in my experience is preddy good. Ive been loving the reading so far
Reminds me of Martha Harnecker, but thats because she studied under him in France while doing her university degree
This is mainly a historical question, but why is philosophy of science so dominated by the analytical school?
LISTEN HERE YOU FUCKERS IM GOING THROUGH ALMOST 48 STRAIGHT HOURS OF FLIGHT AND IM GONNA PUSH THRU JET LAG IN ORDER TO MAKE IT I HOPE YALL MAKE IT FOR YOUR OWN SAKES
Today's session on the first essay is today.
It's in about 3 1/2 hours from the time of this post, to remind people. 19 UTC
. If you're not already in the call room, make sure to post in the main chat so we can invite you.
Main chat: https://matrix.to/#/!mjlMGagFTDhvgxMWhY:matrix.org/
I think I might be a little late and I really only want to listen, but I thought I'd post a question to potentially start a discussion:
On p. 12:
"We have some striking examples with the so-called human
sciences, which are all too often merely techniques, blocked in their development by the
empiricist ideology that dominates them, prevents them from perceiving their real foundation,
defining their object, or even finding their basic principles in existing disciplines which are
rejected because of ideological prohibitions or prejudices (like historical materialism, which
should serve as the foundation of most of the human sciences)."
In which way is modern day sociology inhibited by empiricist ideology? Does empiricist ideology inhibit the progress of other scientific disciplines?
The meeting is starting now!
If you want to join in, do it now!
protip: dont fucking book hostels with shitty internet just because youre in a rush
Shit really enjoyed reading on the reproduction of capitalism, althusser is tight
Is the full list of this decided/available somewhere? Would love to do the reading but unfortunately don't have much time for discussion. Looking for stuff to share with my local org
We are currently doing a thing where everybody takes turns suggesting reading. The next text hasn't been decided yet.
After reading chapter/essay 6, I had alot to commentate on it and was planning on talking about it in the group chat, but I didn't catch the memo and it was for nothing. For those who've read it &'re interested here is what I wanted to talk about.
If there's any needing of explaining or backing up of a page number, then I'll reply and add it. If you're interested in dunking on me, go ahead. Anyway before talking about the problems I had, I'll first go over the summary points:
(The reason why for letters being put infront of the points is because they're contexts of the critiques I have).
=Philosophies default properties=
>[a] Philosophy requires science to birth it
>[a/b] Philosophy is inherently selfish since views itself as a gate of logic
=Philosophy default Actions=
>[a] Philosophy tries to make sense of contradictions, not because of interest, but because it's sense of logic
<It's similar to libertarians being against there being a state, but in the interest of running a corporation
>[a]Philosophy conceives the notion that: "Knowledge is power", which in turn makes it justify:
1) It extending itself to other fields
2) Be against putting the ideas into practice (hence why bourgeois institutions love saying "Philosophy is useless")
>[a] In addition to philosophy taking over other fields, it hoards topics to its subject to it can justify its needence (Truth, oneness, totality, etc.)
>[a] Philosophy develops on its interest for the theory or knowledge, this knowledge being generally tied to it's existence. Only changing its sights to assisting society when it's pressured.
=How Philosophy should development=
>[d] Philosophy exterior space is within itself, meaning it develops on it's own
<Double backing to why there should be no limiting on its developing because of social practices
>[d]Philosophy should reject social practices/a moral code that would prohibit from going over something
>[b] When it's in the interest of helping, and it has recognize class struggle, it can be a useful tool to unify ideologies.
[b] Philosophy is meant for the ruling class, which makes it a paradox for Marxist philosophy.
[b] This in turn makes Marxist philosophy a philosphy or practice (something that Gramsci himself champions)
>[c]Ideology has no power during the "last instance" (a moment where the raw contradictions of capitalism is presented to the individual, and they're convinced to change)
>[c]Ideology is what guides all humans (therefor there's no such thing as free will)
>[b] There's no way of accomplishing practice without ideology.
End of Summary
There's alot more points brought up in the essay, mostly stuff I agree on, but aren't relevant to some of the critiques I have. The majority of the points of the list I agree upon, but it's the few which seem to contradict with themselves.
a) Louis keeps pushing the idea that philosophy is inherently:
<Does nothing but try and "solve" it's origin and refusing to assist humanity
<Think it's needed for truth
Not only this is baseless, but he admits that there's no practice without ideology. Making ideology interest practice, keeping in mind that Philosophy is the study and development of ideology, by logic: philosophy is interest in practice, which it would be interested in it's impact on society.
b) It's obvious that philosophy is contaminated by a dominating (bourgeois) ideology, but it doesn't mean that it's entire interest is just for serving the bourgeois. As earlier mentioned, philosophy is interest in practice, so why does it need class struggle to have some willingness to contribute to society? If it was only for the bourgeois, then it would never pick up class struggle.
c) Louis states: "Ideology is what guides humans", which I agree. But then goes on to say: "Ideology has no part in the effect of the 'last instance'". Before I explain my issue, I need to explain a tiny theory I've been thinking of.
Humans are born with a inherit ideology, this ideology is humans interest in freedom and morality. When I say: "freedom", and "morality" – this is what I'm referring to:
Freedom) Humans interest to escape from maslow's pyramid (image related). The pyramid being about humans needs to reach fulfillment, with each layer humans wanting to escape from.
Morality) Humans interest in others escaping from the pyramid as well.
Of course that leads to the question of: "Why do people commit actions that would go directly against either of these two virtues?". The reason is because they believe in a: "Greater Good". (This is basically just double negation).
An example being groups of people believing in racism, they view the target group as a set variable that will prevent other people in the group from achieving their freedom, making them believe that their hatred is justified and moral.
Of course this theory has a few inherit conclusions:
1) Because morality is inherit in all people being born, that means that all people are born inherently good, and it's only because of their material conditions that they can degenerate to the monsters that roam this Earth.
2) Humans being affected by their material conditions are convinced of the ideology of the material conditions. Which in turn makes everyone convince-able to switch to the proletariat ideology, it's only a question of the amount of labor that it would that would have to be invested to convince them.
An example of point 2 can be seen within Catholicism, babies are born atheist (since humans don't inherently believe in god, they believe in man), and it's up to the members of the faith to convince the child to join their faith.
End of theory
Back to Louis' point, if ideology has no part during the "last instance", how're they convinced to change their values? In addition, you would need to buy into the idea that humans're born without a inherit ideology, which isn't true since of the genetics of humans which fuel their inherit ideology.
d) In Louis eyes, for philosophy to develop, it must:
1) Recognize material conditions
2) Reject social practices/spooks that hold it back for critiquing
3) Develop with in itself (recognizing that the exterior space of the field is within itself).
Points 1 & 2 are correct, but 3 is straight up wrong. The development of the field is from the current material conditions of the world. Meaning that while philosophy can develops on itself, the development of other fields will develop philosophy as well. An example being the breakthrough in the science field of agriculture, which in turn lead to the invention of private property and it's application: slavery. Both of which develop philosophy by introducing a: dominating ideology, and a dominated ideology. (There's more developments in the philosophy field because of the break through, but the majority of it is stemmed from class struggle).