Talk:Louis Althusser

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This Philosophy related article has been assessed as SIGNIFICANTLY PROBLEMATIC in one or more ways. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

This article requires attention for the following reason(s):
  • Too many unsourced statements.
  • Lack of in-depth analysis of Althusser's philosophy.

This page is bullshit[edit]

His murder was caused by psychiatric problems. In no way it should discredit his works. I don't see how his philosophy of use being fragments of our imagination makes hims batshit crazy. I thought this was RationalWiki. Diacelium (talk) 13:55, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

His murder? He died of a heart attack. Though he did murder his wife, he also got away with it. His psychiatric problems are not the basis of any criticism we leverage against him — we call him out on his bullshit exclusively due to the fact that his theories were completely potted up on weed.
Add to that his fradulence (his own chosen word):

In one astonishing passage, which is likely to have destroyed his reputation for ever, Althusser reveals how ill-read he really was: the possessor of thousands of books of which he now claims to have opened only a few hundred. His expertise in philosophy, in the history of ideas, was sketchy at best: 'I knew the work of Descartes and Malebranche well, Spinoza a little, Aristotle not at all; Plato and Pascal quite well, Kant not at all, Hegel a little.' He was not even particularly conversant with Marx, having read only his early works when he came to write his own seminal Marxist texts. What he was blessed (or cursed) with was an infallible knack for extrapolating from commentaries and occasionally from no more than casual conversations those ideas and intuitions that he knew he would be able to exploit and develop in his own writings. He relates how he contrived to impress his first teacher, the Catholic theologian Jean Guitton, with a paper whose guiding principles he had simply filched from Guitton's own corrections of a fellow student's essay, and how he concocted fake quotations in the thesis he wrote for another major contemporary philosopher, Gaston Bachelard.

Batshit crazy, indeed. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:09, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, by his murder, I meant the murder of his wife. He didn't got away with it, he was put in a psychiatric hospital. Diacelium (talk) 16:28, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
I also can't find a source of your quote except an article from the Independant. Maybe because I'm searching in french. Diacelium (talk) 18:09, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Also, how in hell can you explain me that the state schools, laws, domestic policy cannot influence people's minds ? I'm not an anarchist but what the fuck ? Diacelium (talk) 21:08, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
You're reacting as if I wrote the current article. I didn't — I never opened it until today — and it's not like the article is even near bronze as things stand; it's going to need a lot of work either way. And honestly dude — are you seriously contending that my view is that "state schools, laws, domestic policy cannot influence people's minds"? Do you mind if I ask you when I expressed this judgement? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:44, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
OK, sorry, but what I looked about Althusser is that he believes state have ways to influence ideologies and behavior, such as schools. And actions of the state, like laws, police intervention, can also influence behavior (when the government banned religious symbols in schools, many more muslim womens started to wear the veil). This doesn't seem like woo. Diacelium (talk) 10:12, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, this article is total bullshit tbh. Disclaimer: I've never particularly liked this site and I'm not a regular user, but I stumbled across this article and it sucks. It's a perfect example of this site's STEMlord attitude of thinking all humanities are dumb. DAE le highly influential philosophers know nothing about le epic science? Social theory is apparently now equivalent to healing crystals or something? Also Marxism in academia was not "completely discredited" with the fall of the USSR. It became less influential, but it's still highly influential even for non-Marxist sociologists, philosophers, etc. (not to mention the ones who are Marxist) Also it is true that he "confessed" to being a fraud in his memoirs, but there are scholars who think that should be taken with a grain of salt as he made exaggerations in that book and was still somewhat insane. -- (talk) 19:26, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

I wrote it years ago in the hopes someone would have updated it by now. I'm actually a fan of Althusser (even got Balibar to sign their book together at UC a couple years back). But make no mistake, Althusser was batshit insane by the standards of this website, and admitted to writing his theories in bad faith. For sources, read his memoir, or the introduction to Verso's copy of Bentham. ~~a fan~~

Gonna need a better source[edit]

The article of the independent is the only source there is talking about this supposed quote. No other people are quoting it, neither in french or in english, or if they do, they consider this article as a source. I don't think it is reliable. Diacelium (talk) 18:13, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

TOW cites it. It's an excellent resource on the highly odd Althusser. That's not to say there aren't many more sources to add as well on related criticisms of Althusser. But there's nothing unreliable about the source. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 18:26, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
I hardly believe it. Some french people would have noticed it by now. The Independent could have taken the quote from TOW (whatever it is) or the opposite. Diacelium (talk) 18:31, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
The article in question dates back to 1992 — freshly written upon the release of Althusser's outrageous posthumous biography. Wikipedia was founded in 2001. Do the math. Facepalm Reverend Black Percy (talk) 18:38, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
What does this have to do with Wikipedia ? You still didn't answer my question. Diacelium (talk) 18:45, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Sorry; TOW is a short-hand wiki expression for "The Old Wikipedia", which just means regular English-speaking Wikipedia. Wikipedia was founded 9 years after the article from The Independent was written. Regardless, that same article bases itself on known facts about Althusser, and on the contents of his disturbing autobiography. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 18:48, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Once again, this quote can't be found elsewhere than articles who use this article as a source. And I can't find any french source on it. Diacelium (talk) 18:56, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
What quote are you even talking about? Althusser himself writes in his autobiography that he didn't actually read either the people he built on, nor the people he was critical of. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 19:18, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's (supposedly) a quote from the autobiography. Now why is this article the only one with this quote is the problem (the others who use this quote are just quoting this article). It seems very unlikely that no french person has ever read his autobiography. So, I wonder if it is truely in his autobiography or if it just false. Maybe I'm just wasting my time on this and it is really in his autobiography, but it seems unlikely that no french people have ever read this (since Althusser is a french philosopher). Diacelium (talk) 19:45, 13 January 2017 (UTC)


"Somehow, unconsciously and invisibly, these encasements or interpolations are generated by the actions of the state, because woo"

Maybe before writing a hit piece a philosopher, you could actually acquaint yourself with some of their basic arguments? The actions of the state don't "generate" interpellation (and it's INTERPELLATION, not interpolation) by some magical process. It's enacted through the state ideological apparatuses and enforced by the state repressive apparatuses. This is literally Althusser 101 shit they teach in first year undergrad sociology.

This article is a shameful hatchet piece by someone who doesn't have the basic grasp on the man they're slandering. (talk) 17:12, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Possible. It sure is a pileup of citation needed tags in the most antagonistic assertions of fact. It was created basically in its current form 5 years ago, then stagnated. What would be your suggested change? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:25, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Any takers?[edit]

This page sucks. But I frankly don't think I know enough about Althusser to rework this page. Is anyone more familiar with his work willing to take a stab at it? Though, if I'm completely honest, I think a page on Althusser might not even be warranted. I rarely hear about Althusser these days. Wingnuts certainly don't know who the hell he is, and even among leftists, I don't hear about him too much. He's an important and interesting thinker, certainly, but I'm not sure a page like this is needed. Monochroma (talk) 11:40, 19 August 2021 (UTC)

Convicted felon?[edit]

Althusser was found unfit to stand trial, at all. By default that kind of makes him not legally culpable. Carthage (talk) 16:13, 29 November 2023 (UTC)

My mistake from a couple of years ago. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 16:34, 29 November 2023 (UTC)