Beyond Ideology: Althusser, Foucault and French Epistemology Cover Image

Beyond Ideology: Althusser, Foucault and French Epistemology
Beyond Ideology: Althusser, Foucault and French Epistemology

Author(s): Massimiliano Simons
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Philosophy, Epistemology, Political Philosophy, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism
Published by: Central European University
Keywords: Foucault; Althusser; French poststructuralism;

Summary/Abstract: How is it possible that Althusser is forgotten while Foucault seems to be more popular than ever? Is Althusser simply outdated due to his Marxist terminology and concepts? Does Foucault still remain relevant because he, in contrast with Althusser, never was a Marxist and started from a radically different conceptual background? To find answers to these questions, it is necessary to clear out the difference between these two authors.To begin, I will briefly describe Foucault’s position and the apparent critique one can give, based on his philosophy, of the philosophy of Althusser. However, if one looks at what Althusser himself has to say, this critique seems not to be the most profound critique of Foucault, because Althusser seems to be more in line with Foucault than at first sight. To understand what really is at stake, it is necessary to go back to the tradition in which both authors intellectually grew up: the French epistemology or épistémologie. Only by keeping that tradition in mind can the most pertinent divergence between Althusser and Foucault be seen.

  • Issue Year: 3/2015
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 62-77
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English