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History and EventFrom Marxism to Contemporary French Theory$
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Nathan Coombs

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748698998

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748698998.001.0001

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Althusser’s Science: Naming the Epistemological Break

Althusser’s Science: Naming the Epistemological Break

(p.91) Chapter 4 Althusser’s Science: Naming the Epistemological Break
History and Event

Nathan Coombs

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that Louis Althusser’s strident anti-Hegelianism and adoption of French historical epistemology was integral in his refoundation of Marxist thought. At the same time, the roots of the Platonic rationalist trajectory found in Badiou and Meillassoux are located in Althusser’s work. The chapter shows that the vicious circularity enjoined by Althusser’s theorisation of the epistemological break grants authority to philosophers to issue judgement on the novelty of events. The concluding section argues that despite the similar vocabularies of late-Althusser’s philosophy of the encounter and Badiou’s Being and Event, it is the unresolved issues of Althusser’s mid-1960s research programme which underpins Badiou’s philosophy.

Keywords:   Philosophy, Marxism, Althusser, Epistemology, Hegel, Epistemological break, Badiou, Being and event, Meillassoux

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