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Reading Capital

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  629 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Together with Louis Althusser’s book For Marx, Reading Capital represents one of the foundational texts of the school of “structuralist Marxism” which transformed the face of modern philosophy and social theory. Presided over by the magnetic and intellectually coruscating figure of Althusser, the structuralist Marxists attempted no less than an intellectual revolution agai ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published February 17th 1998 by Verso (first published January 1st 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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William West
Oct 05, 2013 William West rated it liked it
This extremely influential text has aged poorly exactly because of how influential its been in Marxist discourse. Many of its key claims, which were eye-brow raising in 1965, are generally accepted by interpreters of Marx today. What makes this book a somewhat frustrating read is that Althusser's writing style is far denser here even than in his other key works, and yet there seems to be less ideas to sink one's teeth into than in, say, the author's “For Marx.”

First off its most influential, and
...more
Iben
Mar 29, 2008 Iben rated it really liked it
Only read the first section, but that was enough for me. I enjoy any French philosopher who mentions "poached baby elephant."
Alex
Jan 19, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it
Science wins! (Sorry ideology).

Materialism wins! (Sorry idealism).

"Well grubbed, old mole." KM is the mole. Capitalism is the mud. Once you grab that grub, don't let it go!
بهمن بهمن
Jun 03, 2007 بهمن بهمن rated it it was ok
are dadsh!ine!khastam bedooni maam ye vaghti si khodemoo ademi boodim,azi ketaba mikhoondim.haaa!louis althosser:)
Ike
Jul 20, 2008 Ike rated it it was ok
Althusser is an absolute nut. Sound and fury signifying nothing.
Alex Lee
Oct 22, 2015 Alex Lee rated it really liked it
Althusser and Balibar here demonstrate that Marx's genius lay not with communism but with recognizing that Capital is its own domain (off the work of David Ricardo). Marx however eventually did something wrong; in finding the immanence of Capital's logic, he then swallowed his own poison pill. He attempted to read the totality of all of history through this immanent logic, and found no way out. Balibar in particular takes great pains to show that at each turn an analysis of history yields again ...more
Bradley
Apr 29, 2010 Bradley rated it it was ok
Honestly, after reading Capital volume one I thought this text would be a breeze, or at the very least, illuminate some of the darker, more opaque passages in Marx's Magnum Opus. Boy, was I wrong. In fact, this text is so much harder I had to put it down after only about 20-25 pages in. Will probably pick it up again (I own it after all), but sheesh - those Frenchies sure love to prognosticate in the realm of abstractions. Would take a lifetime to truly understand this text, and other scholars s ...more
Eric
May 13, 2011 Eric rated it it was amazing
In this tremendous work, Althusser (and Etienne Balibar) argues that Marx's "Capital" marks the emergence of a new "science of history," a new mode of knowledge that sprang out of the author's encounters with his philosophical predecessors but which couldn't be recognized as such precisely because the answer that it provides is directed towards a question not available in his empiricist philosophical antecedents. Key to Althusser's recuperation of this new science in Marx is the manner in which ...more
John
May 26, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Althusser and student Balibar offer a symptomatic reading of Marx's Capital and read him as definitively anti-humanist and anti-historian. It is not humans who are the engine of history, but the various "levels" of society (political, theological, and-in the last order-economic) that create social conditions. Each of these levels also shifts along its own temporal frame, and wile the levels are articulated, this relationship prohibits a description of history as a single teleological line.
Benjamin Britton
Sep 01, 2013 Benjamin Britton rated it it was amazing
"But the protocols for a reading of Capital which we have inherited from the history of the interpretation of Marxism, as well as the experiments in reading Capital we can make ourselves, confront us with real difficulties inherent in Marx’s text itself. I shall assemble them under two headings, and these two headings will constitute the object of my study.

(1) Contrary to certain appearances, or at any rate, to my expectations, Marx’s methodological reflections in Capital do not give us a develo
...more
Mahdi
Sep 20, 2016 Mahdi rated it really liked it
Only read "The Errors of Classical Economics: Outline of a Concept of Historical Time" and it's amazing
Humphrey
Aug 28, 2012 Humphrey rated it liked it
Obviously essential reading for marxists. That said, I have a lot of problems with the basic principles of Althusser's approach. Rather than attempting to approach marx as a philosopher - to find the implicit philosophy of marxism - I find it more compelling to approach philosophy as a marxist - to seek the historical and political economic determinations of both philosophy and science. Lots of keen ideas, however; and it is a marvelous example of constructing complex and persuasive arguments. I ...more
David
Jan 30, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dense, difficult read, more about the intellectual politics of French Marxism and the philosophical scene of the 1960s than about Marx, but essential for understanding French intellectual history.
Muhammad Shemyal Nisar
Jan 26, 2016 Muhammad Shemyal Nisar rated it really liked it
very interesting and thought provoking book which not only outlines the achievements of Marx's thesis but also delineate its pitfalls.
Medicinefckdream
the, uh, fuckin, uh profit motive is like the sole motor of the development of production in capitalism, man. fucking, shit.
Christopher
Feb 27, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and thought-provoking, but a lot of the material is dense and requires a good bit of philosophical knowledge beforehand.
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Louis Pierre Althusser (1918–1990) was one of the most influential Marxist philosophers of the 20th Century. As they seemed to offer a renewal of Marxist thought as well as to render Marxism philosophically respectable, the claims he advanced in the 1960s about Marxist philosophy were discussed and debated worldwide. Due to apparent reversals in his theoretical positions, to the ill-fated facts of ...more
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