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Podcast Profile: What's Left of Philosophy

podcast imageTwitter: @leftofphil@gdmorejon@whitherutopia@oglynwil@classreductress (@whitherutopia followed by 259 philosophers)
Site: leftofphilosophy.buzzsprout.com
45 episodes
2020 to present
Average episode: 58 minutes
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Categories: Political Philosophy • Three+ Hosts

Podcaster's summary: In What’s Left of Philosophy Gil Morejón (@gdmorejon), Lillian Cicerchia (@lilcicerch), Owen Glyn-Williams (@oglynwil), and William Paris (@williammparis) discuss philosophy’s radical histories and contemporary political theory. Philosophy isn't dead, but what's left? Support us at patreon.com/leftofphilosophy

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List Updated: 2022-Aug-10 11:32 UTC. Episodes: 45. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2022-Aug-08 • 69 minutes
45 | On Solidarity and Conflict with Nathan DuFord
In this episode we are joined by Nathan DuFord to discuss their new book Solidarity in Conflict: A Democratic Theory. We unpack why they believe solidarity ought to be theorized as a political concept rather than moral injunction. For DuFord, we risk missing that solidarity is what the oppressed do with one another and that the oppressed will have disagreements within their solidary groups if we undertheorize the political dimensions of solidarity. We go on to discuss the relationships between trust and con...
2022-Aug-01 • 61 minutes
44 | Karl Kautsky's Cooperative Commonwealth
In this episode we talk about the most important Marxist thinker during the time of the Second International, Karl Kautsky. We talk about his infamous claim that the breakdown of capitalism is historically inevitable, what he thinks socialist praxis should look like in a liberal democracy, and what the concentration of large-scale capital means for your small business. Plus at some point we realize that almost all anti-socialist arguments are actually just confused anti-capitalist ones, which we find irresi...
2022-Jul-26 • 61 minutes
43 | Transindividuality and Marxism with Jason Read
In this episode we talk with the wonderful Jason Read about his work on the concept of transindividuality and what it means for critical social theory, Marxist notions like alienation and reification, and traditional conceptions of freedom and equality. It’s bad news for anyone who thinks politics can be directly derived from ontology, but incredibly productive theoretically and practically if you're willing to think social relations as processes. Also Will admits he’s almost ready to confess his Spino...
2022-Jul-12 • 68 minutes
42 | Going Beyond the Pleasure Principle with Freud
In this episode we talk psychoanalytic theory and practice. With Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle as our touchstone, we get speculative about human desire, the death drive, and the relationship between psychoanalysis and political struggle. We discuss the problem of scaling up from individual psychology to collective organizations, the opacity of the subject, and some of the psychosocial pathologies peculiar to the United States here in the twenty-first century. We could all use a bit more transference...
2022-Jun-27 • 60 minutes
41 | James Boggs and the Problem of Rights under Capitalism
In this episode we discuss James Boggs’s 1963 The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook. We talk about Boggs’s materialist conception of rights as “what you make and what you take.” In Boggs we find a novel conception of rights that are grounded in social power. We delve into the dangers automation and structural unemployment present to rights to life and happiness while wondering if a “workless” society would truly be a better one. In the end, we extend a figleaf to egalitarian liberals...
2022-Jun-13 • 12 minutes
40 Teaser | What is Liberalism? Part I. John Locke's Second Treatise of Government
In this episode we kick off our new series called “What is Liberalism?” with private property, conquest, and a discussion about John Locke’s apologia for both. We appreciate the efforts of the left to civilize liberalism in the wake of its own civilizing efforts across the globe, but we ask whether it’s really possible to separate economic and political liberalism to make liberalism work for the left. Our experiences in DEI workshops suggest not, although many who are smarter than Locke have tried. The full...
2022-May-30 • 65 minutes
39 | Lukács: Social Totality and the Commodity Form
In this episode we discuss the work of György Lukács, focusing on the reification essay from his seminal 1923 book History and Class Consciousness. We talk about why it’s not great that the commodity form has penetrated every aspect of social life, why we need to retain the category of totality in spite of loud protests from postmodernists, and what’s special about the standpoint of the proletariat. Welcome to capitalism, folks: real contradictions and necessary illusions abound. But it’s not over yet! patr...
2022-May-16 • 60 minutes
38 | Liberal Democracy in Crisis: Carl Schmitt and the Present
In this episode, we discuss the infamous Nazi jurist and political philosopher Carl Schmitt, with particular focus on his 1923 book The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. We attempt to better understand the right-wing, Schmittian case against both liberal ‘parliamentarianism’ and ‘Marxist socialism’, while trying to discern his positive political vision. Doing so requires assessing his paradoxical claim that democracy and dictatorship are perfectly compatible, and that dictatorship is good, actually. We end...
2022-May-02 • 10 minutes
37 Teaser | What’s the ‘Structural’ in ‘Structural Injustice’?: Iris Marion Young and Political Philosophy
What do we mean when we call something a ‘structural injustice’? In this episode, we take up some of Iris Marion Young’s work and ask what makes the difference between interpersonal injustice and structural injustice. Along the way, we investigate concepts such as political responsibility, social connection, and the character of global injustice. As an extra special treat listeners will find out what is preventing Gil from being a revolutionary (the answer may surprise you)! The full episode is available on...
2022-Apr-20 • 67 minutes
36 | What is Utopia? Part II. Plato's Republic (with Owen Alldritt)
In this episode, we talk with Owen Alldritt about justice. We come to Plato’s defense against the Western philosophical canon, mostly in spite of ourselves, and insist on the True coinciding with the Good. What does this all have to do with utopia, you ask? As it turns out, Plato is a realist and he thinks we can know the Good in itself, organize our cities accordingly, and realize justice…or at least philosophers can. Good luck to everyone else! patreon to support | follow us @leftofphil References: The ...
2022-Apr-05 • 69 minutes
35 | Moral Luck and Pedagogy (with Aaron Rabinowitz)
In this episode, we talk with Aaron Rabinowitz of Embrace the Void and Philosophers in Space about the paradoxes of moral luck, the problematic nature of our everyday notions of responsibility, and what good pedagogy looks like when you’ve agreed – as you must – that spontaneous, volitional free will is merely an illusion. We do some Kantian maneuvering, form provisional alliances, and all things considered have as good a time as is possible given our total lack of freedom.References:Thomas Nagel, “Moral Lu...
2022-Mar-22 • 9 minutes
34 Teaser | What is Dialectics? Part IV: Dialectic of Enlightenment with Adorno and Horkheimer
In this episode we talk about Adorno and Horkheimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment, focusing on their notion of reason as abstractive domination and their understanding of the culture industry as a means of producing mass complicity with the machinations of capital. The good news is that we've got a much better sense of humor than either of them, so it's not as miserable as all that might sound. The bad news is we're not sure if they're wrong to be so pessimistic. We also drag a fair ...
2022-Mar-07 • 68 minutes
33 | (Un)Learning How to Do Politics with Hannah Arendt
In this episode we discuss what distinguishes politics from other aspects of human existence by looking at Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition and “Reflections on Little Rock.” We question why Arendt is so concerned with defending the distinction between politics, the social, and the private realm and what useful insights can be drawn from these distinctions when analyzing real human history. In addition, we touch on Arendt’s controversial relationship to black politics around integration or as she thought ...
2022-Feb-22 • 66 minutes
32 | What is Equality? Disagreeing with Jacques Rancière
In this episode we discuss the meaning of equality by delving into French political philosopher Jacques Rancière’s 1995 book, Disagreement. In a contentious conversation we unpack the core concepts of the book, including its expansive notion of the police and its highly restrictive definition of politics as foundationally egalitarian. Above all, we press Rancière (and each other!) on both the meaning and the political utility of equality as a presupposition or ‘axiom’ rather than a social goal. It’s a bange...
2022-Feb-07 • 62 minutes
31 | Raymond Geuss: Realism in Political Theory
In this episode we work through some of the ideas laid out in Part 1 of Raymond Geuss’ 2008 Philosophy and Real Politics. It’s a refreshingly clear-eyed argument for what he calls the realist approach in political philosophy, which tries to attend to the messiness of actually existing societies, the opaque and invested people who make them up, and the shifting, contradictory values they hold. We’re talking Hobbes meets Lenin meets Nietzsche here, folks. Leave your rational decision theory and normative idea...
2022-Jan-24 • 61 minutes
30 | What is Utopia? Part I. Thomas More: Critical Realism in a Time of Enclosure
In this episode, we kick off a new series on the concept of utopia by taking a look at the guy who invented the word, Thomas More. We discuss how his wonderfully satirical 1516 book Utopia was written in response to the enclosures happening in England, which forced masses of peasants into unemployment and misery and created the conditions for early capitalist agriculture. His fictional island nation of Utopia thrives without private property, but More’s real trick is how he reveals the wildly utopian and fa...
2022-Jan-10 • 66 minutes
29 | Sartre and the Question of Philosophy
In this episode, we read Jean-Paul Sartre's Search for a Method. We begin by working through Sartre’s puzzling claim that Marxism is this era’s one true philosophy and then branch out into broader questions concerning what it is we are trying to do when we philosophize and whether Sartre was right not to give up on capital-T “Truth.” Other topics include Sartre’s conception of freedom, the relationship of the individual to history, and the problems of dogmatic Marxism up to the present day. This one is...
2021-Dec-25 • 55 minutes
28 | A Very Special Holiday Episode: Learning How to Give with Jacques Derrida
Merry Christmas and happy holidays! In this surprise gift of an episode, we’re visited by the spectre of Jacques Derrida and his deconstruction of the gift. Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, he forces us to ask whether we have given enough, whether we know how to give without reciprocity, and why it is so hard to give in the first place. The gang reflects on the phenomenology of gift-giving and the insidious politics of philanthropy, and even takes shots at the big guy himself: Santa Claus. So sit back, gra...
2021-Dec-21 • 66 minutes
27 | Crisis and Utopian Consciousness
In this episode we get together to discuss a new article by our very own Will Paris! We talk about Will’s critical and materialist conception of consciousness, the role of awareness and normative expectations in processes of social transformation, and why utopia is involved in knowledge production. We talk Bloch, we talk Hayek: you know, the usuals. It’s a classic original crew set, recorded live on stream!patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:William Paris, “Crisis Consciousness, Utopian Con...
2021-Dec-03 • 69 minutes
26 | Wake Up and Choose Divine Violence: Walter Benjamin w/ Dr. Ashley Bohrer
In this episode we welcome Dr. Ashley Bohrer to discuss Walter Benjamin’s 1921 essay “Critique of Violence”. We talk about the relationship between violence and the law, reflect on the limits of institutional power for emancipatory projects, and get really real about the spiritual dimension of justice. Keep your messianism weak, comrades.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilashleybohrer.comPedagogies for Peace podcast: https://kroc.nd.edu/research/intersectionality/pedagogies-for-peace-podcast/Refe... ...
2021-Nov-19 • 62 minutes
25 | Reflections on Freedom and the Cold War w/ Dr. Lea Ypi
This episode dives behind the Iron Curtain into socialist Albania in discussion with Lea Ypi on her new memoir “Free.” The crew explores what has been gained and what has been lost in the transition to capitalism. Lea explains why some of the symmetry may surprise us and why Marxism is a philosophy of human freedom.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Lea Ypi, Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (Penguin Random House, 2021)Music: Vintage Memories by Schematist | schematist.bandcamp.com...
2021-Nov-05 • 24 minutes
24 Teaser | What's Left of Foucault?
In this episode, the crew takes on a beloved figure of the academic ‘left’: Michel Foucault. The discussion gravitates around Foucault’s work in the early 1970’s on the ‘punitive society’, power as civil war, and popular rebellion. This post-‘68 period of his life and work is often seen as his most politically ‘radical’, both because of his activist involvement in the Prisons Information Group (GIP) and because he directly engages with Marxist discourse and thought. Nevertheless, the conversation quickly tu...
2021-Oct-22 • 67 minutes
23 | How Does a Democracy Keep its Character? Lessons from the Black Radical Tradition w/ Prof. Melvin Rogers
In this episode, we welcome Professor Melvin Rogers of Brown University to discuss his forthcoming book The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought. We focus on the often elided importance of character in social struggle and transformation, the tension between optimism and pessimism in African American political thought, and the centrality of rhetoric and persuasion in this tradition. It is not to be missed!patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferen...
2021-Oct-08 • 69 minutes
22 | The Meaning of Disability (with Dr. Joel Michael Reynolds)
In this episode we are joined by Joel Michael Reynolds for a wide-ranging discussion about disability theory. We dig into the relationship between disability and white supremacy, the idea of politics as differential capacitation, genomics and medicalization, justice as equity, and more. Naturally we put full-bore social constructivism on blast. Leftists gotta be materialists, you know?patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Joel Michael Reynolds, “The Meaning of Ability and Disability.” Journal...
2021-Aug-28 • 68 minutes
21 | What is Critical Theory Doing? w/ Dr. Prof. Robin Celikates
In this episode we are joined by Professor Robin Celikates to discuss the big “method” question in critical theory: What is it doing, and why? Since Marx, this tradition has had a special connection to emancipatory struggles, so we talk about how that works (or doesn’t) in relation to contemporary debates about civil disobedience and migration. patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Robin Celikates, 2019. “Constituent Power Beyond Exceptionalism: Irregular migration, disobedience, and (re-)co...
2021-Aug-13 • 58 minutes
20 | David Walker and the Politics of Judgment
For this episode we discuss David Walker’s 1830 radical anti-slavery tract An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World and Melvin Rogers’s 2015 article “David Walker and the Political Power of the Appeal.” We explore Walker’s political philosophy of judgment and its relationship to normativity, solidarity, and reconstructing civic society. Walker offers an insightful critique of the insidious pathologies race introduces into Western political formations. We cover questions of universalism, the contentiou...
2021-Jul-31 • 72 minutes
19 | Machiavelli: Cunning, Fortune, and Republican Virtue
In this episode we talk through the work of one of the most infamous figures in the history of political thought, Niccolò Machiavelli. Looking both at the Prince and some passages from the Discourses, we ask ourselves what the Florentine can teach us about strategy, the need for vision and flexibility, and the virtues of leaders and citizens in a world of duplicity and chance. Is he a ruthless lover of cruelty, a clear-eyed political scientist, or a partisan defender of freedom as non-domination? patreon.co...
2021-Jul-16 • 74 minutes
18 | Spinoza: Necessity, Ethics, Joy
In this episode we finally get around to talking about Spinoza. It turns out normativity is kind of complicated when you think everything is strictly determined and there’s no such thing as contingency! We discuss the relationship between affect and power, the inherently social nature of knowledge, and why you should want joy for others as much as for yourself. Along the way we also manage to work in a needless and slanderous dig against Heidegger, just for good measure.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @lefto...
2021-Jul-02 • 19 minutes
17 Teaser | What is Dialectics? Part III: What's the Deal with Marx, Anyway?
In this Patron exclusive episode, we move to the third part of our mini-series “What is Dialectics?” and take on the works of Karl Marx. The WLOP crew investigates what Marx took and rejected from Hegelian dialectics while defending why Marx remains deeply relevant in our contemporary moment. We cover the role of mystification under capitalism, Marx’s moral and political critique of value, and the future of Marxism in the context of ecological crisis. There’s even a mention of spectres for you Derrida fans ...
2021-Jun-18 • 67 minutes
16 | Erik Olin Wright: Utopia and Social Science
In this episode, we discuss Erik Olin Wright’s 2010 book Envisioning Real Utopias. We excavate the relationship between social scientific investigation and normative claims concerning how we ought to structure our society. We ask what a theory of social transformation ought to entail and figure out why we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds yet. So sit back and relax while we pour one out for a real one: Comrade Erik Olin Wright.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Erik Olin Wright...
2021-Jun-04 • 76 minutes
15 | What is Dialectics? Part II: We Need to Talk about Hegel
In this episode, we continue our series on dialectics by completely losing our minds talking about Hegel. We break through Kant’s critical prohibition on speculative metaphysics and grasp the in-itself as the movement of dialectical negativity. We realize the unity of opposites. We are seized by the necessity of the absolute Idea in history. It’s a banger, folks. In retrospect, it couldn’t have been any other way.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy o...
2021-May-22 • 63 minutes
14 | Thomas Hobbes Hates Your Book Club
In this episode, we go back to the seventeenth century to talk about Thomas Hobbes’ hugely influential political philosophy. Focusing mostly on De Cive, we dive into his hilariously bleak anthropology, his totalitarian absolutism, and his uncomfortable fit within the modern tradition of political liberalism. But things are a little more complicated than they first appear: maybe old Bishop Bramhall was right when he said that Hobbes’ ideas are ‘a rebel’s catechism’.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilR...
2021-May-07 • 62 minutes
13 | What is Dialectics? Part I. The Crew Gets Kant-Pilled
In this episode, we start our series on dialectics with a conversation about Kant. If you’ve ever wondered what the hell this term means, then the WLOP crew is here for you. We talk about what human beings can know, what we can’t know but need to think, and introduce ourselves to the philosophy of history.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphil References:Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, ed. and trans. Paul Guyer and Allan Wood (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).Immanuel Kant, Critique o...
2021-Apr-23 • 8 minutes
12 Teaser | Gustav Landauer: Anarchism, Utopia, Community
In this episode, we explore the work of German anarchist Gustav Landauer. We work through the utility of utopia in political transformations and what is required to create richer communities and social life. In the end, we discover the one vibe we’re cool with: joy. Come on through for wild mysticism and learn what Meister Eckhart can do for you while in prison!The full episode is available on our Patreon page.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Gustav Landauer, “Anarchism and Socialism,” i...
2021-Apr-09 • 78 minutes
11 | Climate Politics and Global Justice (with Dr. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò)
In this episode, we are joined by Professor Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò (@OlufemiOTaiwo) (Georgetown University) to discuss his work on the politics surrounding climate change and generative frameworks for global justice. In this wide-ranging discussion we address the urgency of climate politics for the African continent, what it means to connect the local to the global, and how we can move towards richer forms of collaborative security. We also offer a theory of “vibes” in politics and theory.patreon.com/leftofphilosop...
2021-Mar-28 • 75 minutes
10 | Donna Haraway: Socialist Cyborg Affinities
In this episode, we discuss Donna Haraway’s distinctive socialist cyberfeminism. We talk through the virtues and vices of her version of postmodern feminism and leftism, the ambivalent character of scientific knowledge production and new technologies, and the strange material powers of metaphor. Ask yourself: would you rather be a cyborg or a goddess?patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Cent...
2021-Mar-12 • 61 minutes
9 | C.L.R. James: Leadership, Organization, Mass Politics (with Dr. William Clare Roberts)
Episode 9 explores the antinomies of autonomy and self-emancipation in the thought of C.L.R. James. Dr. William Clare Roberts joins us to discuss James’ legacy and how it fits into his book project on the history of “history from below.” Please be advised that a side-effect of this episode may be republicanism. (No, you Yanks, not the GOP. It’s the Black Jacobins, get it?)References:CLR James, The Black Jacobins, (New York: Vintage Books, 1989).CLR James, World Revolution 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the...
2021-Feb-26 • 67 minutes
8 | (Neo)colonialism and Anticolonialism
In episode 8, we look to the writings of Aimé Césaire to guide a conversation about colonialism, neocolonialism, and anti-colonial thought and struggle. Focusing especially on his 1950 Discourse on Colonialism and his 1956 letter to Maurice Thorez—in which he explains his resignation from French Communist Party—we discuss the subjective and objective ‘boomerang effects’ of colonialism on colonizing countries, the tensions between particularism and universalism in putatively global left politics, the relatio...
2021-Feb-12 • 59 minutes
7 | Why Does Class Matter?
Episode 7 dives into class theory as we discuss why it’s important to make a normative case for class politics, misconceptions about who the working class is, and why the labor market dominates. We also ruminate on why workers don’t always organize and why solidarity is a counterculture. Plot twist: Lillian accuses everyone except herself of class reductionism. Lillian Cicerchia, "Why Does Class Matter?", Social Theory and Practice 47:4 (2021): https://philpapers.org/go.pl?id=CICWDC&proxyId=&...
2021-Jan-29 • 72 minutes
6 | What's Left of Positivism (with Dr. Liam Kofi Bright)
In this episode, we heal the divide between analytic and continental philosophy by finally giving logical positivism its due. Dr. Liam Kofi Bright (London School of Economics, @lastpositivist) explains the socialist roots of some of the positivists, details their views on the role of science and knowledge in projects of social betterment, and defends the political importance of clarity. patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath, and Rudolf Carnap, “The Scientific Conceptio...
2021-Jan-15 • 14 minutes
5 Teaser | Beauvoir: Existentialism and Liberation
Full episode on the Patreon: patreon.com/leftofphilosophyIn this episode, we talk about Simone de Beauvoir's masterful book The Ethics of Ambiguity. We spend some time with her typology of inadequate ethical positions, focusing on the subhuman, the serious person, and the nihilist, and discuss what it means to say that freedom is only possible as a liberatory movement. Oh and we make fun of the abstract negation of revolt, the absolute value of the Target corporation, and Ayn Rand's 'epistemo...
2021-Jan-01 • 59 minutes
4 | Security, Supreme Concept of Bourgeois Society?
In our fourth episode we talk about security, digging into Mark Neocleous' argument, following Marx, that security rather than liberty is 'the supreme concept of bourgeois society'. But we also ask the thorny question of how the left can speak to everyone's desire to feel safe while critically highlighting the racialized violence and ruling-class utility of existing security regimes. It's, uh, more fun than that probably sounds.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Ma...
2020-Dec-18 • 71 minutes
3 | Laclau and Mouffe, or How we learned to hate class and love Derrida
In our third episode, we talk about Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, the landmark text of post-Marxism. Both serious arguments and slam dunks ensue.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Second Edition (New York: Verso, 2001)Karl Marx, “Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.” In Selected Writings. Ed. Lawrence H. Simon. (Indiana...
2020-Dec-18 • 76 minutes
2 | Stuart Hall: What are the politics of culture?
In this episode we discuss the work of cultural theorist Stuart Hall and his politics of culture. We focus on his relationship to Althusser and Gramsci with a detour through contemporary Black politics in the United States.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Stuart Hall, Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History. Edited by Jennifer Daryl Slack and Lawrence Grossberg (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016)Stuart Hall, “Political Commitment, 1966.” In Selected Political Writings: The Great M...
2020-Dec-18 • 62 minutes
1 | Althusser: Marxism and Philosophy
In our inaugural episode, we talk about Louis Althusser’s pathbreaking work on philosophy and Marxism from the 1960s. Targets of reckless slander include Sartre and post-structuralist theories of agency.patreon.com/leftofphilosophy | @leftofphilReferences:Louis Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. Translated by Ben Brewster (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001)Louis Althusser, Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists. Translated by Ben Brewster, James H. Kavanagh, Thomas E. ...