Full Text



Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


First used by the scientist Hermann von Helmholtz, the term “determinacy” or “determinateness” has a broad application. The condition of being determinate can imply a certain constraint upon contingency, effected by assigning definite qualities to an entity or process. H egel , for example, distinguishes between “being,” which is abstract, and “determinate being,” which possesses qualities. But, in Marxist theory and sociology, “determinacy” (more usually “determinateness”) has often been linked with a prior process of determination (not to be confused with predetermination). Understood in this sense, determinateness has figured centrally in the works of structuralist Marxists such as A lthusser , who have stressed the “scientific” and deterministic thrust of M arx's Canon rather than the elements which emphasize human agency in historical transformation. Althusser uses the concept of O verdetermination (taken over from F reud ) to express the specificity of the Marxist notion of C ontradiction and in particular its divergence from Hegel's dialectic. Whereas Hegel's formulation of C ontradiction as the causal site of historical change is “simple,” embodying a process of cumulative internalization of previous forms of consciousness and history, Marx's notion of contradiction is “overdetermined”: it is determined not uniformly but by a variety of levels and instances of the S ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top