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Althusser advanced a progressive critique of humanism, historicism, and empiricism, which he depicted as the medium of the influence of bourgeoisie ideology on the modern Marxist theory. Althusser’s collection of essays titled Pour Marx (1965) and Lire de Capital (1965) inspired a number of new left thinkers. He focused on the mature Marx as exhibited by his analysis of alienation in the capitalist society. The essays represented intellectually hard-line Marxism but not dogmatism.
Althusser attempted to employ Marx’s tools such as mode and means of production to probe the production of Marxian knowledge and highlight its uniqueness from other philosophical systems. This aided in promoting the credibility of Marxism as a science. Althusser confronted contemporary softer interpretations of Marx’s work. In particular, he sought to reread Western Marxist theory and free it from Soviet dogmatism, as well as humanistic interpretations (Michael 2011, p.134). Meanwhile, he wanted to reinstate their pace in the class struggle.
Pour Marx is considered as the founding text of the school of structuralism in Marxism. Although he refused to be labeled as a structuralist, he used structuralism to abolish the “knowing subject” as the centre of thought and action. According to Althusser, Marxism is not an ideology or a world view but a revolutionary science. He holds that Marxism should ultimately be the science of society. He claimed that Marx had introduced a theoretically plus practically revolutionary philosophy such as dialectical materialism (Ferretter 2006, p.32).
According to Althusser, the “epistemological rupture” witnessed around 1845, climaxed Marx coming out as a ‘scientific’ theorist. Althusser wanted to sever ties from idealist (Hegel’s philosophy) and materialist (Feuerbachian) philosophies. Althusser adopted the method of “symptomatic reading,” which is a deep analysis of structures
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Scott (2011) states that
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