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Philosophy of Max Stirner

Philosophy of Max Stirner

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The philosophy of Max Stirner
Max Stirner
Johann Kaspar Schmidt , better known as Max Stirner , was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism...

 is credited as an influence on the development of nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

, existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

, post-modernism and anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, especially of individualist anarchism
Individualist anarchism
Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy but refers to a...

, postanarchism and post-left anarchy
Post-left anarchy
Post-left anarchy is a recent current in anarchist thought that promotes a critique of anarchism's relationship to traditional leftism. Some post-leftists seek to escape the confines of ideology in general also presenting a critique of organizations and morality...

. Stirner's main philosophical work was The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

, also known as The Ego and His Own (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum in German, which translates literally as The Unique One and his Property).

Stirner's philosophy has been cited as an influence on both his contemporaries, notably Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

  as well as subsequent thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, Enrico Arrigoni
Enrico Arrigoni
Enrico Arrigoni was an Italian American individualist anarchist Lathe operator, house painter, bricklayer, dramatist and political activist influenced by the work of Max Stirner.- Life and activism :He took the pseudonym "Brand" from a fictional character in one of...

, Steven T. Byington
Steven T. Byington
Steven Tracy Byington was a noted intellectual, translator, and American individualist anarchist. He was born in Westford, Vermont, and later moved to Ballardvale section of Andover, Massachusetts. A one-time proponent of Georgism, he converted to individualist anarchism after associating with...

, Benjamin R. Tucker, Emile Armand
Emile Armand
Emile Armand was the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist...

, Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.Camus was awarded the 1957...

 and Saul Newman
Saul Newman
Saul Newman is a political theorist and central post-anarchist thinker.Newman coined the term "post-anarchism" as a general term for political philosophies filtering 19th century anarchism through a post-structuralist lens, and later popularized it through his 2001 book From Bakunin to Lacan...

.

Anarchism



Max Stirner
Max Stirner
Johann Kaspar Schmidt , better known as Max Stirner , was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism...

 was a philosopher whose "name appears with familiar regularity in historically-orientated surveys of anarchist thought as one of the earliest and best-known exponents of individualist anarchism."Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry for Max Stirner In 1844, his The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

 (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum which may literally be translated as The Unique Individual and His Property) was published, which is considered to be "a founding text in the tradition of individualist anarchism." Stirner proposes that most commonly accepted social institutions—including the notion of State, property as a right, natural rights in general, and the very notion of society—were mere illusions or ghosts in the mind, saying of society that "the individuals are its reality." Stirner wants to "abolish not only the state but also society as an institution responsible for its members."

He advocated egoism and a form of amoralism, in which individuals would unite in 'associations of egoists' only when it was in their self interest to do so. For him, property simply comes about through might: "Whoever knows how to take, to defend, the thing, to him belongs property." And, "What I have in my power, that is my own. So long as I assert myself as holder, I am the proprietor of the thing." He says, "I do not step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as my property, in which I respect nothing. Pray do the like with what you call my property!" Stirner considers the world and everything in it, including other persons, available to one's taking or use without moral constraint —that rights do not exist in regard to objects and people at all. He sees no rationality in taking the interests of others into account unless doing so furthers one's self-interest, which he believes is the only legitimate reason for acting. His embrace of egoism
Egoist anarchism
Egoist anarchism is a school of anarchist thought that originated in the philosophy of Max Stirner, a nineteenth century Hegelian philosopher whose "name appears with familiar regularity in historically orientated surveys of anarchist thought as one of the earliest and best-known exponents of...

 is in stark contrast to Godwin's altruism
Altruism
Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of...

. He denies society as being an actual entity, calling society a "spook" and that "the individuals are its reality" (The Ego and Its Own).

It should also be noted that Stirner, although an Individualist Anarchist in social philosophy never mentions markets and he did not believe it is a matter of moral right, but simply a matter of control. "I do not step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as my property, in which I respect nothing. Pray do the like with what you call my property!" Stirner never referred to markets and his philosophy on property causes problems for a market system, because according to proponents of markets property is not considered to be legitimate if taken by force. Stirner was opposed to communism, seeing it as a form of authority over the individual. He said in The Ego and Its Own:

This position on property is much different from the native American, natural law, form of individualist anarchism, which defends the inviolability of the private property that has been earned through labor. However, in 1886 prominent American indvidualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker
Benjamin Tucker
Benjamin Ricketson Tucker was a proponent of American individualist anarchism in the 19th century, and editor and publisher of the individualist anarchist periodical Liberty.-Summary:Tucker says that he became an anarchist at the age of 18...

 rejected the natural rights philosophy and adopted Stirner's egoism, with several others joining with him. This split the American individualists into fierce debate, "with the natural rights proponents accusing the egoists of destroying libertarianism itself." Other egoists included James L. Walker
James L. Walker
James L. Walker , sometimes known by the pen name Tak Kak, was an American individualist anarchist of the Egoist school. He was one of the main contributors to Benjamin Tucker's Liberty. He worked out Egoism on his own some years before encountering the Egoist writings of Max Stirner, and was...

, Sidney Parker
Sidney Parker (anarchist)
Sidney Parker, also known as S. E. Parker, is a British egoist individualist anarchist who wrote articles and edited anarchist journals from 1963-1993.- External links :...

, and Dora Marsden
Dora Marsden
Dora Marsden was an English feminist editor of avant-garde literary journals, and an author of philosophical writings.-Early life:...

.

Stirner's philosophy has also influenced libertarian communists and anarcho-communists. Forms of libertarian communism such as Situationism are strongly Egoist in nature. Anarcho-communist Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

 was influenced by both Stirner and Peter Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

 and blended their philosophies together in her own, as shown in books of hers such as Anarchism And Other Essays. Herbert Read
Herbert Read
Sir Herbert Edward Read, DSO, MC was an English anarchist, poet, and critic of literature and art. He was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism, and was strongly influenced by proto-existentialist thinker Max Stirner....

 was highly influenced by Stirner, and noted the closeness between egoism and existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 (see existentialist anarchism
Existentialist anarchism
Some observers believe existentialism forms a philosophical ground for anarchism. Anarchist historian Peter Marshall claims that "there is a close link between the existentialists' stress on the individual, free choice, and moral responsibility and the main tenets of anarchism."-Background:-Max...

).

Egoism


Stirner
Max Stirner
Johann Kaspar Schmidt , better known as Max Stirner , was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism...

 has been broadly understood as a proponent of both psychological egoism
Psychological egoism
Psychological egoism is the view that humans are always motivated by self-interest, even in what seem to be acts of altruism. It claims that, when people choose to help others, they do so ultimately because of the personal benefits that they themselves expect to obtain, directly or indirectly,...

 and ethical egoism
Ethical egoism
Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds merely that it is...

, although the latter position can be disputed, as there is no claim in Stirner's writing, in which one 'ought to' pursue one's own interest, and further claiming any 'ought' could be seen as a new 'fixed idea'. However, he may be understood as a rational egoist in the sense that he considered it irrational not to act in one's self interest. How this self interest is defined, however, is necessarily subjective, allowing both selfish and altruistic normative claims to be included.

Individual self-realization rests on each individual's desire to fulfill their egoism
Egoist anarchism
Egoist anarchism is a school of anarchist thought that originated in the philosophy of Max Stirner, a nineteenth century Hegelian philosopher whose "name appears with familiar regularity in historically orientated surveys of anarchist thought as one of the earliest and best-known exponents of...

. The difference between an unwilling and a willing egoist, is that the former will be 'possessed' by an empty idea and believe that they are fulfilling a higher cause, but usually being unaware that they are only fulfilling their own desires to be happy or secure, and the latter, in contrast, will be a person that is able to freely choose its actions, fully aware that they are only fulfilling individual desires.
The contrast is also expressed in terms of the difference between the voluntary egoist being the possessor of his concepts as opposed to being possessed. Only when one realizes that all sacred truths such as law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, right
Rights
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

, morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 etc., are nothing other than artificial concepts, and not to be obeyed, can one act freely. For Stirner, to be free is to be both one's own "creature" (in the sense of 'creation') and one's own "creator" (dislocating the traditional role assigned to the gods).
To Stirner power is the method of egoism. It is the only justified method of gaining 'property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

'.

Even love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 is explained as "consciously egoistic":


However, Stirner cautioned against any reification
Reification (fallacy)
Reification is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a "real thing" something which is not a real thing, but merely an idea...

 of the Egoist or subject:

Property



Stirner has a concept of "egoistic property," which he is referring to the absence of moral restrictions on how the individual uses everything in the world including other people. For Stirner, property come about through might: "Whoever knows how to take, to defend, the thing, to him belongs property." "What I have in my power, that is my own. So long as I assert myself as holder, I am the proprietor of the thing." He says, "I do not step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as my property, in which I respect nothing. Pray do the like with what you call my property!". This position on property is much different from the preceding native American, natural law, form of individualist anarchism, which defends the inviolability of the private property that has been earned through labour. However, American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker
Benjamin Tucker
Benjamin Ricketson Tucker was a proponent of American individualist anarchism in the 19th century, and editor and publisher of the individualist anarchist periodical Liberty.-Summary:Tucker says that he became an anarchist at the age of 18...

 rejected the natural rights philosophy and adopted Stirner's egoism in 1886, with several others joining with him.

Dogma


The passages quoted above show the few points of contact between Stirner's philosophy and early Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. It is merely Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as an "annihilator" of the established biases and preconceptions of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 that Stirner can relate to. His reason for "citing" the cultural change sparked by Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, is that he wants the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 ideologies of 19th Century Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 to collapse, much as the ideology of heathen Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 did before it (e.g., "[the Christian era] will end with the casting off of the ideal, with 'contempt for the spirit'", p. 320). As with the Classical Skeptics before him, Stirner's method of self-liberation is opposed to faith or belief; he envisions a life free from "dogmatic presuppositions" (p. 135, 309) or any "fixed standpoint" (p. 295). It is not merely Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 dogma
Dogma
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

 that his thought repudiates, but also a wide variety of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an atheist ideologies that are condemned as crypto-Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 for putting ideas in an equivalent role:
What Stirner proposes is not that concepts should rule people, but that people should rule concepts. The "nothingness" of all truth is rooted in the "nothingness" of the self, because the ego is the criterion of (dogmatic) truth. Again, Stirner seems closely comparable to the Skeptics in that his radical epistemology directs us to emphasise empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 experience (the "unmediated" relationship of mind as world, and world as mind) but leaves only a very limited validity to the category of "truth". When we regard the impressions of the senses with detachment, simply for what they are (e.g., neither good nor evil), we may still correctly assign truth to them.
In place of such systems of beliefs, Stirner presents a detached life of non-dogmatic, open-minded engagement with the world "as it is" (unpolluted by "faith" of any kind, Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 or humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

), coupled with the awareness that there is no soul, no personal essence of any kind, but that the individual's uniqueness consists solely in its "creative nothingness" prior to all concepts.

The Self


Stirner's concept of the self is something impossible to fully comprehend; a so-called 'creative nothing' he later described as an 'end-point of language'.
In order to understand this 'creative nothing', Stirner uses poetry and vivid imagery. The 'creative nothing' by its dialectical shortcomings creates the need for a description, for meaning.
Stirner elaborated this attempt to describe the indescribable in the essay "Stirner's Critics", written by Stirner in response to Feuerbach and others (in custom with the time, he refers to himself in the third person) :

The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

 opens and closes with a quotation from Goethe that reads "I have taken up my cause without foundation", with the unstated next line of the poem being "…and all the world is mine". One of Stirner's central ideas is that in realizing the self is "nothing" one is said to "own the world", because as the book states in its last line: "all things are nothing to me" [Ibidem., p. 324]. David Leopold (in his introduction to the Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

 Edition of The Ego and its own) expresses disbelief at what Stirner has to say about the nature of mind, world, and property. Both the belief in the self being "nothing" and that "the world is empty" have no similar Western precedent. But in Eastern Philosophy
Eastern philosophy
Eastern philosophy includes the various philosophies of Asia, including Chinese philosophy, Iranian philosophy, Japanese philosophy, Indian philosophy and Korean philosophy...

 Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 has comparable aspects:
Stirner describes this world-view, in brief, as "enjoyment", and he claims that the "nothingness" of the non-self is "unutterable" (p. 314) or "unnameable" (p. 132), "unspeakable" yet "a mere word" (p. 164; cf. Stirner's comments on the Skeptic concepts ataraxia and aphasia, p. 26).

The insurrectionist and anti-revolutionary


Stirner mocks revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

 in the traditional sense, and ridicules social movements aimed at overturning the state as tacitly statist (i.e., aimed at the establishment of a new state thereafter). To illustrate this he compares his own social and moral role with that of Jesus Christ:

As Stirner specifies in a footnote (p. 280), he was here using the word insurgent
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

 "in its etymological sense"; thus, to rise above the religion and government of one's own times and to take control of ones life with no consideration of them, but not necessarily to overthrow them. This contrasts with the method of the revolutionary who brings about a change of conditions by displacing one government with another:
Stirner was writing about people liberating themselves from their own limits and rising above limiting social, political and ideological conditions, and for each to walk their own way. The passages quoted above are clearly incompatible with David Leopold's conclusion (in his introduction to the Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

 edition) that Stirner "...saw humankind as 'fretted in dark superstition' but denied that he sought their enlightenment and welfare" (Ibidem, p. xxxii). Stirner refused to describe himself as directly liberating others. But his stated purpose in these quotations seems to be to achieve the "enlightenment and welfare" of others by way of demonstration and "insurrection" as he defines it.

Union of egoists



Stirner's idea of the "Union of Egoists", was first expounded in The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

. The Union is understood as a non-systematic association, which Stirner proposed in contradistinction to the state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

. The Union is understood as a relation between egoists which is continually renewed by all parties' support through an act of will. The Union requires that all parties participate out of a conscious egoism
Selfishness
Selfishness denotes an excessive or exclusive concern with oneself, and as such it exceeds mere self interest or self concern. Insofar as a decision maker knowingly burdens or harms others for personal gain, the decision is selfish. In contrast, self-interest is more general...

. If one party silently finds themselves to be suffering, but puts up and keeps the appearance, the union has degenerated into something else.. This union is not seen as an authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 above a person's own will. This idea has received interpretations for politics, economic and sex/love.

Hegel's possible influence


Scholars such as Karl Löwith
Karl Löwith
Karl Löwith , was a German philosopher, a student of Heidegger.Löwith was born in Munich. Though he was himself Protestant, his family was of Jewish descent and he therefore had to emigrate Germany in 1934 because of the National Socialist regime. He went to Italy and in 1936 he went to Japan...

 and Lawrence Stepelevich have argued that Hegel was a major influence on The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

. Stepelevich argues, that while The Ego and its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

 evidently has an "un-Hegelian structure and tone to the work as a whole", as well as being fundamentally hostile to Hegel's conclusions about the self and the world, this does not mean that Hegel had no effect on Stirner.
To go beyond and against Hegel in true dialectical fashion is in some way continuing Hegel's project, and Stepelevich argues that this effort of Stirner's is, in fact a completion of Hegel's project . Stepelevich concludes his argument referring to Jean Hyppolite
Jean Hyppolite
Jean Hyppolite was a French philosopher known for championing the work of Hegel, and other German philosophers, and educating some of France's most prominent post-war thinkers....

, who in summing up the intention of Hegel's Phenomenology, stated: "The history of the world is finished; all that is needed is for the specific individual to rediscover it in himself."
However, Widukind De Ridder has argued that scholars who take Stirner's references to Hegel and the Young Hegelians
Young Hegelians
The Young Hegelians, or Left Hegelians, were a group of Prussian intellectuals who in the decade or so after the death of Hegel in 1831, wrote and responded to his ambiguous legacy...

 as expressions of his own alleged Hegelianism
Hegelianism
Hegelianism is a collective term for schools of thought following or referring to G. W. F. Hegel's philosophy which can be summed up by the dictum that "the rational alone is real", which means that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories...

are highly mistaken. De Ridder argues that The Ego and Its Own is in part a carefully constructed parody of Hegelianism, deliberately exposing its outwornness as a system of thought, and that Stirner's notions of "ownness" and "egoism" were part of his radical criticism of the implicit teleology of Hegelian dialectics.

General


Criticism and influence


Texts