Althusser, G. A. Cohen, bullshit, Marxism, analytic, political, philosophy
This paper explores G. A. Cohen’s claim that Althusser’s Marxist philosophy is bullshit. This exploration is important because, if we are persuaded by Cohen’s assertion that there are only three types of Marxism: analytic, pre-analytic, and bullshit and, further, that only analytic Marxism is concerned with truth and therefore “uniquely legitimate” then, as political philosophers interested in Marxism’s potential philosophical resources, we may wish to privilege its analytic form. However, if Cohen’s attribution is misplaced, then we may wish to explore why Cohen was so insistent in this ascription and what this insistence reveals about his own political philosophy. The first half of this paper explains what Cohen means by bullshit and it examines the distinction between bullshit and non-bullshit Marxism. The second half explores what the insistent misattribution of the epithet “bullshit Marxism” to Althusser’s Marxism reveals about Cohen’s own Marxist political philosophy.
Crisis and Critique
Lewis, William S., "Is There Less Bullshit in For Marx than in Reading Capital?" (2015). Philosophy Faculty Scholarship. 2.