Philosophy of History B

lfilo2291  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

Philosophy of History B
5 credits
30.0 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2018-2019
Bruschi Fabio (compensates Maesschalck Marc); Maesschalck Marc;
Basic instruction in the history of philosophy.
Main themes
The course will attempt to lay out the origin of the concept of a " philosophy of history " by distinguishing it from epistemological questions about the foundations of historical science.
The course will present a historical overview of the evolution of the concept of a philosophy of history.

Next, the course will present some observations on differing interpretations of the concept in order to point out the conflicts that set these interpretations against each other.
On this basis, a more specific debate shall be studied in order to provide an example of the general presentation.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


Upon successful completion of the course, the student should :
- Be able to identify the major schools of thought in the philosophy of history ;
- Know the fundamental concepts associated with those schools of thought ;
- Be able to explain briefly the conflicts of interpretation that have resulted within contemporary thought.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
History between economy and society. Three readings of Marx
This course will study three major currents that, since the 1960s, tried to interpret from a philosophical standpoint Marx's critique of political economy: Operaism, Althusserism and the Neue Marx-Lektüre. We will concentrate both on the founding texts and on more recent contributions, in order to identify the discontinuities that caracterize them as attempts to tackle from within theory the transformations of the conjuncture. These perspectives will allow us to elucidate various central ideas in Marx's work, such as dialectics as an epistemological and political operation, value as a form of socialisation of individual activities, class struggle as the motor of history, modes of productions as principles of the determination of the economy. Each conception will lead us to formulate a different conception of what is historical in history, according to the relation between economics and society that it allows setting forth.
Teaching methods
Evaluation methods
Students will be asked to write a 10 page on the basis of an author or a subject studied in the course. After emailing the paper, the student will receive a question on the paper to be prepared for the oral exam.
The student will have approximately 15 min. to present this answer during the oral exam.
The paper may be written in French, English, or Italian, with the professor's agreement.
Students are invited to discuss with the professor the subject on which they would like to write their paper.
Other information
Online resources
Reading material will be published on Moodle.
- L. Althusser, Pour Marx (1965), Paris, La Découverte, 2005.
- L. Althusser, E. Balibar, R. Establet, P. Macherey, J. Rancière, Lire Le Capital(1965), Paris, P.U.F., 1996.
- H.-G. Backhaus, « Dialectique de la forme valeur » (1969), tr. S. Niemetz, Critiques de l’économie politique, n° 18, oct.-déc. 1974.
- E. Balibar, La crainte des masses. Politique et philosophie avant et après Marx, Paris, Galilée, 1997.
- M. Heinrich, An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital, tr. angl. Al. Locascio, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2004.
- K. Marx, Le Capital,Livre I (1867), tr. J.-P. Lefebvre, Paris, P.U.F., 1993.
- Antonio Negri, Marx au-delà de Marx, Paris, C. Bourgeois, 1979.
- M. Postone, Temps, travail et domination sociale (1993), tr. O. Galtier et L. Mercier, Paris, Mille et une nuits, 2009.
- M. Tronti, Ouvriers et Capital (1966), tr. Y. Moulier-Boutang, Paris, Entremonde, 2016.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [60] in Philosophy

Master [120] in Philosophy

Master [120] in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : French as a Foreign Language

Master [120] in Ethics

Master [120] in Sciences of Religions