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Louis Althusser ((1918–1990) was an influential academic
pseudo-Marxist philosopher in France during the 1960s. During this time, student revolts were becoming common in the West, and campuses in Europe and America were witnessing increasingly hostile environments. Western Marxism was also enjoying a resurgence amongst the hard left.
Althusser published books on Karl Marx. He is one of the poster-children for the radical "spirit of '68." His books are dense treatises on social theory combining structuralist critiques of the social mechanism, psychoanalytic interpretations, and non-empirical ramblings about history without a subject. His position denied Marx's humanism utterly, leaving him only with a strange, fundamentally un-Marxist philosophy of antihumanism, in which human beings have absolutely zero control over their perceptions of the world or their behaviors because they are already encased in behavioral and symbolic structures beyond their control. Somehow, unconsciously and invisibly, these encasements or interpolations are generated by the actions of the state, because woo.
Part of his attempt at reviving Marxist philosophy was theorizing about its relation to "a knowledge identical with science," which he knew nothing about whatsoever.
Althusser strangled his wife to death years after his initial time in the intellectual limelight. The USSR was still functional, however, so his work on Marx had not been completely discredited. Althusser claimed not to remember the killing due to severe brain trauma from the times when he was given electroconvulsive therapy as well as taking several new anti-depressants drugs, most of which have in contemporary times been phased out. Althusser was sent to the psychiatric hospital of Saint-Anne after the murder. He was declared unfit for trial by reason of insanity, thus never serving time for the murder. Later in life, he was housed at the prestigious university in France where he had worked.
He published a memoir about the killing and other steps that led him down the path to becoming a radical academic philosopher, including accounts of the time he spent as a prisoner of war.
Many of France's brightest minds studied under Althusser and even more were in turn taught by Althusser's students. Leftist academics continue to cite Althusser to this day, cheerfully neglecting the fact that he admitted in his memoirs that most of his philosophy was produced on fraudulent grounds since he actually had not read some of the authors his criticism was based on. Even though the batshit crazy man did not think he was actually existent and was only a figment of other people's imaginations and might literally disappear if people stopped thinking about him. Not even his extreme wingnut counterparts thought they weren't real.
If that doesn't give you the chills...