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Even philosophers

I’m dipping into Althusser for the first time, and discovering that he’s far more compelling than the incessant, unqualified criticisms of him would lead one to think. I’m even finding myself somewhat taken by his case for an important break between the young and the mature Marx, despite the fact that disproving him on this point seems to have become the fundamental agenda of all the secondary literature after him. As he sums it up, “even philosophers must be young men for a time.” A fair point to keep in mind.

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  1. andrewlp
    December 18, 2009 at 2:08 am

    I’ve never read Althusser, but I like his point about philosophical youth.

    From what I know about the proposed difference between early and late Marx, in some ways I find the early more compelling. I also feel this way about the early Hegel and the early Heidegger. There’s something very pure and daring about the first steps of a thinker. It makes me wonder: what really is the value of “intellectual maturation”? What do you think?

  2. January 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I definitely know what you mean: there often is something thrilling about the “early” versions of major thinkers, and there’s often something in those early versions that I prefer. Another person I’ve experienced the same way is J. H. Yoder, whose earliest stuff is really fresh yet unmistakably Mennonite, while his later stuff has basically had done with classical Mennonite themes (with the exception of violence, obviously) and forged a new genre entirely. I used to have a clear preference for the early; I’m not sure about that any longer.

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