Max Stirner : The End of Philosophy and Political Subjectivity

In Saul Newman (ed.), Max Stirner. Palgrave Macmillan. 143-167 (2011)
Abstract
Max Stirner has often been considered a Young Hegelian, or even the 'last Hegelian'. Such a reading implies that Stirner drew the logical conclusions of Hegel’s philosophy, thereby ignoring the way his thought marks a fundamental break with the philosophical tradition as a whole. Stirner’s notions of 'egoism', 'ownness' and 'Der Einzige' ('the ego') were not philosophical concepts but, in a Foucauldian sense, tools to dismantle the subject-object dichotomy and its social and political bearings in the wake of modernity. It is argued, furthermore, that his ideas cannot be reduced to a traditional philosophy of the subject (existentialism). This chapter analyses both Stirner’s quest to 'dissolve' philosophy, as well as its radical implications for political theory as a whole. Stirner’s notion of Der Einzige not only questions the revolutionary subject in a strictly Marxist sense, but eventually any form of (political) subjectivity. Stirner’s radical criticism of the emancipatory claims of his contemporaries allows us to question and rethink the concepts of contemporary social and political theory, not only by criticizing the way political power is commonly conceived and by refraining from positing essentialist guarantees, but also by laying bare the problem of political subjectivity.
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Saul Newman (2002). Politics of the Ego: Stirner's Critique of Liberalism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (3):1-26.
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