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problematic

problematic A structuralist Marxist term, popularized by Louis Althusser, which refers to ‘the particular unity of a theoretical formation’, the interdependence of its component concepts, and the way in which this facilitates the posing of certain problems and issues while excluding others from consideration (see For Marx, 1965). Althusser contrasts the openness of scientific problematics (specifically the mature works of Marx) with the closed problematics of various ideologies (idealism, classical political economics, and so forth). What allegedly distinguishes the two is that the latter operate within a ‘closed space’ or ‘vicious circle of the mirror relation of ideological representation’ within which all problems are posed in ways that prejudge the solutions (see Reading Capital, 1968
).

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problematic

prob·lem·at·ic / ˌpräbləˈmatik/ • adj. constituting or presenting a problem or difficulty: the situation was problematic for teachers. ∎  doubtful or questionable. ∎  Logic enunciating or supporting what is possible but not necessarily true. • n. a thing that constitutes a problem or difficulty: the problematics of artificial intelligence. DERIVATIVES: prob·lem·at·i·cal adj. prob·lem·at·i·cal·ly / -ik(ə)lē/ adv.

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problematic

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