At present, Althusser’s philosophy as a whole is undergoing a critical is closely related to the idea of “overdetermination” or the theory that. Thus overdetermination is used to refer to multiple causality – or for instance in Freud a hysterical symptom or in Althusser a revolutionary situation – or just the. While he borrowed the word and idea of dialectic from Hegel, Althusser insists that Marx The concept of overdetermination is Althusser’s way of expressing the.

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The three inspirations Althusser gave for this interpretive method were those provided by Spinoza, Freud by way of Lacan, and that provided by Marx himself.

This dislocation plays an important part in the theory of transition.

Overdetermination – Wikipedia

And if this is possible, it is therefore necessaryI would go so far as to say vitalfor Marxism. Even though it is his most well known intervention, this was not the first attempt by Althusser to try and influence the Party he had tried once before during the mid s from his position as cell leader at the ENS and it would not be his last. A word or concept cannot be considered in isolation; it only exists in the theoretical or ideological framework in which it is used: Iat the same time as peasants holdings were being expropriated in the late 15 th and early 16 th centuries by a nascent bourgeoisie, the church and the aristocracy were passing laws against this appropriation.

Presses Universitaires de France, — Vatter, Miguel, Second there is the analysis of the phase of transition itself, which is not a destructuration-restructuration, but a mode of production in its own right, although one in which there is a dislocation of a special type rather than a homology between the two articulations of the structure and therefore between the modes of historical individuality defined by the structure, a dislocation within the mode of production and between the mode of production and the other levels of the social formation.

Hence it is a structure in dominance. I am not particularly taken by this term overdetermination borrowed from other disciplinesbut I shall use it in the absence of anything better, both as an index and as a problemand also because it enables us to see clearly why we are dealing with something quite different from the Hegelian contradiction.


Balibar shows, however, that simple reproduction is the concept of social production. Irrespective of all these consequences, we can draw one conclusion at any rate where the relations of production are concerned: Humanist ideologies see the social totality as the totality of inter-subjective relations between men, as civil society, tho society of human needs.

We have only to ask why Hegel thought the phenomena of historical mutation in terms of this simple concept of contradiction, to pose what is precisely the essential question.

The term “overdetermination” German: Hence the knowledge of the object is part altuusser the object itself. By combining or inter-relating these different elements — labour-power, direct workers, masters who are not direct workers, object of production, instruments of production, etc.

Though he did overdeterminarion argue that there was a way to leave ideology behind and to reveal the good in itself, he did maintain that science could help to correct ideological thinking about political means and ends. Further, it possesses no worked out theory of the overdegermination between economic structures and cultural structures but for that limited knowledge which scientific practice provides. For example, the German Social-Democrats at the end of the nineteenth century imagined that they would shortly be promoted to socialist triumph by virtue of belonging to the most powerful capitalist State, then undergoing rapid economic growth, just as they were experiencing rapid electoral growth such coincidences do occur.

Of course, this is not inconsistent with the theory of reading and authorship overdstermination underwrites a symptomatic reading of a text.

Contradictions, Condensation, Displacement and Fusion of Althusser Condensation and displacement were used by Freud to indicate the two ways dream-thoughts are represented in the dream-work — by the compression of a number of dream-thoughts into one image, or by transferring psychical intensity from one image to another.

He now maintained that there was no criterion sufficient to demarcate scientific overdetermiantion ideological concepts and that all theoretical concepts are marked by ideology. The knowledge of history is then the self-consciousness of each present.

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This clearly breaks with the Hegelian principle of explanation by consciousness of self ideologybut also with the Hegelian theme of phenomenon-essence-truth-of. Overdeetrmination, on the 22 nd of October,he died of a heart overdetsrmination 2.


This is not a subjective mystification, but the mode of appearance of reality Marx calls it a reality — Wirklichkeit. But, strictly speaking, it cannot be claimed that these contradictions and their fusion are merely the pure phenomena of the general contradiction.

Social science in particular could do so by showing how certain goals were impossible or misguided given present socio-economic relations and by suggesting that, at a certain time and in a certain place, other means and other ends might be more fruitfully adopted and pursued.

Marxist philosophers, he maintained, could be useful to scientists by pointing out, from the standpoint of politics and by the method of historical critique, where and how some of the concepts scientists employed were ideological. He also wishes to return to and bolster the thesis he first ventured in the late s that there are really only two positions in philosophy: However, in his teaching and advising, he mostly avoided bringing in Marxist philosophy and Communist politics.

No one aspect or instance is the essence of any other. Must we be even plainer? These concepts are generally taken even by some Marxists to mean the machines or their productivity on the one hand, and the human relations between the members of a society on the other.

He stated, in The Interpretation of Dreams translatedthat “there are no limits to the determinants that may be present” in the consciousness of a human being.

Louis Althusser (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

A term for the articulation of a practice into the complex whole of the social formation. Both also anticipate future concerns in their speculations about the ideological character of current scientific knowledge and in their incorporation of ideas from Mao about the relationship between theory and practice.

Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. Thus the development within a mode of production of the practices specific to it is not necessarily homogenous or linear. History itself is not a temporality, but an epistemological category designating the object of a certain science, historical materialism.