Louis Althusser (1918-1990), the French philosopher born in Algeria, is one of the main intellectual figures of European Marxism in the post-World War II era. A member of the French Communist Party, and a supporter, in his own way, of Maoism, he is known as the main proponent of what was called the “structural Marxist” school of thought. Some of his concepts were incorporated into the social sciences. Two examples that are fairly well-known are the terms overdetermination and ideological state apparatuses.
Over the past few years there has been renewed interest in his thought worldwide, a phenomenon which has several explanations: his historically decisive significance in intellectual debate in France and Great Britain, the recovery of the later Althusser who supported a materialism of the Encounter, and finally the development of diverse reflections on the relations between structuralism, post-structuralism and post-Marxism.
In this article, we reflect on aspects of Althusser’s thought using some of his works as a point of reference. We also utilize Warren Montag’s Althusser and his contemporaries [Philosophy’s perpetual war] , published in 2013, which is an important contribution to our knowledge of the development of his thought and critical analysis of Althusser.