Together with Louis Althusser’s book For Marx, Reading Capital represents one of the foundational texts of the school of “structuralist Marxism” which transformed the face of modern philosophy and social theory. Presided over by the magnetic and intellectually coruscating figure of Althusser, the structuralist Marxists attempted no less than an intellectual revolution against dominant interpretations of Marx. Seeking to cleanse Marx of all Hegelian impurities and recast his thought on a rigorously scientific basis, in this work Althusser and one of his most brilliant students and colleagues, Etienne Balibar, subjected Marx’s method in Capital, his critique of classical political economy, and the fundamental terms of historical materialism, to searching textual analysis and challenging conceptual reconstruction. Inaugurating a new way of reading Marx that was to prove both intensely stimulating and capable of generating fierce controversy, Reading Capital is a work that cannot be bypassed by anyone interested in Marxism, and in theory more generally, in this century.
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Marx and his Discoveries
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absolute abstract Althusser analysis articulation capitalist mode capitalist production classical economics complex concept of history concrete connexion constitute contradiction correspondence defined definition determination dialectical dialectical materialism discourse distinction dominant duction economists elements empiricism empiricist Engels epistemological essence essential existence expression fact formulations function given Gramsci Hegel Hegelian historical materialism historicism human individual knowledge effect labour process labour-power Louis Althusser Marx's Marxist philosophy Marxist theory means of labour means of production merely mode of production movement nature object of knowledge peculiar phenomena political economy posed possible precisely present primitive accumulation principle problem production process productive forces question read Capital real history real object reality relations of production relationship Ricardo scientific sense social formation social relations society specific surplus-labour surplus-value theoretical practice theoretical problematic theory of history thought transformation transition unity use-values whole words