chapter  2
16 Pages

Towards an anti-essentialist Marxian critique of theoretical humanism

This chapter discusses the two theoretical presuppositions that underpin the constitutive problematic of theoretical humanism, namely, the concept of the human subject and the ideal of social reconciliation. It provides the basic contours of a truly secular critique of the theological idea of social reconciliation and the concept of the subject qua autonomous and rational consciousness that underpins the idea of reconciliation. The chapter explores the concept of a theoretical problematic and distinguishes it from the particular theoretical positions within a theoretical problematic. Theoretical humanism is a decidedly post-Enlightenment philosophical orientation that cuts across not only numerous schools of thought within the discipline of economics but also other disciplines of social and human sciences. As a Marxist philosopher, Louis Althusser was particularly interested in the way in which particular Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) secure the conditions of existence of class structures. He distinguishes his notion of ideology from the theoretical humanist notion of false consciousness.