In so doing, the philosopher would be practicing philosophy in a new and progressive sense — as opposed to a conservative and idealist sense — which, moreover, according to Althusser remains consistent with Marx’s own novel philosophical practice.[ix] Might this provide a historical explanation for why the philosopher is so often an object of ridicule and resentment?
Perhaps because philosophers have often been compelled, for whatever reasons, to join the wrong side. In the sense that they conflated logic with absolute truth, with sufficient reason “to the greater glory of God,” which they then used to uphold and justify the domination of their class privilege.[x] At the very least, philosophers deserve the people’s ridicule and resentment as payback for their misguided “intellectual” labor.
” The answer, perhaps courtesy of the same rhetorical questioner, was: “Althusser’s nothing” (“A quoi sert Althusser?
Althusser-à-rien”).[i] One might even say that as a public figure Althusser actively ridicule and resentment (through self-parody?
In ancient Athens no one in the marketplace would have ever dreamed of asking Socrates’s opinion on anything, which would have invited more trouble than it was worth.
The fact that Alvy needs Mc Luhan to win an argument therefore underscores a completely hollow victory.I think we can say that Althusser’s “case” not only serves to reinforce society’s prejudices against the philosopher as someone who is mad and ridiculous, but against philosophy itself as a historically outdated discourse or institution.Does this mean that today we are confronting what’s grandiloquently referred to as “the end of philosophy”?No, she can’t — which according to Althusser is precisely what of philosophy.[iv] Here we arrive at Althusser’s most unexplored — by Althusser or anyone else — line of philosophical inquiry.And it also remains the most promising one despite or perhaps because of Althusser’s reputation as an inflexible and dogmatic Communist Party philosopher.Times change: this is the lesson that Althusser seems to be endorsing, in his rather unsystematic treatment of philosophy from the mid-1970s onward.[v] Marxism is undeniably a science of history. “Philosophy,” as Althusser writes, “is, in the last instance, class struggle in the field of theory.”[vi] In other words, philosophy is never disinterested or objective.The philosopher enters into a war of ideas, between ideologically progressive and reactionary forces, that threatens to destroy not only his status as a philosopher, but also the institution of philosophy in its present form.) by writing an autobiography that it’s difficult to imagine anyone other than a philosopher having the audacity to write — a posthumous autobiography, moreover, in which he vociferously ruminates on everything from his take on Hegelian and Marxist dialectics to how he murdered his wife (the fact that he was deemed unfit to stand trial for the murder obviously compounded the stereotype).But in what sense does “being a philosopher” explain what, in Althusser’s case, is a complex and overdetermined historical episode that says as much about French postwar society as it does about a society’s relation to the philosopher as such?“Boy,” Alvy declares, addressing the camera, “if life were only like this.” The scene, among other things, is a commentary on the questionable social utility of the philosopher.What’s amusing is the fact that Alvy becomes irritated by a dispute over something that could barely be more trivial: namely, the correct interpretation of a philosopher’s ideas, and to such an extent that his only salvation is an appeal to the wise old sage himself.