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By Louis Althusser

Louis Althusser is remembered at the present time because the scourge of humanist Marxism, yet that was once his later incarnation, an id shaped by means of years grappling with the highbrow inheritance of Hegel and Catholicism. The Spectre of Hegel collects the writings of the younger Althusser, ahead of his ultimate epistemological holiday with the philosopher’s paintings in 1953. together with his famed essay ‘Ideology and Ideological kingdom Apparatuses’, The Spectre of Hegel gives a special perception into Althusser’s engagement with a philosophy he may later surrender.

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All contradiction is complex, and triadic. For entirely non-form alistic reasons all contradictions go in threes, at least. For a contradiction can be contradicted only by a contradiction: were no thing (a contradiction) to be contradicted by something the outcome would be incoherence or stasis rather than the movement - the 'can be contradicted' or modus vivendi (Marx 1976, p. 198) ~ of the contradiction itself. In the same sense - perhaps in the same spirit - Spinoza declared that only f r e e d o m can delimit freedom.

9. 10. 11. 12. dialectical kind. Communist Party education classes, and the readers for them, were organised in just this Aristotelian way. g. Gramsci 1971, p. 4 5 4 - 6 ) . Acton 1955; Plamenatz 1970, ch. 5, section 2; Cohen 1978, ch. 5; Lukes 1984; and so forth. Poulantzas 1978; Panzieri 1976. According to Marx the 'forces of production' include natural science. Additionally, they include 'general social knowledge' and 'the human being himself' (Marx 1973, p. 706, 422). , p. 711). Also included are the powers of cooperation and of intercourse in Capital and The German Ideology.

Marx catches this tail, and shakes it: sometimes (1859) the snake bites; at other times (1857) its back is broken. Setting every appeal to humanism aside, we have t o b e able to distinguish the moments where poison enters into Marx's thought. Sociological Marxism — a Marxism depending on empiricist rather than determinate abstraction — is a contradiction in terms. Historical materialism likewise, by virtue of its general-theoretical form. 1 9 These conclusions, so far as I can tell, stand confronted by only a single objection: if we throw overboard empiricist abstraction what might the first-order aspect of Marxist theory be?

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