- Paperback: 110 pages
- Publisher: Freedom Press (January 1, 1976)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 090038414X
- ISBN-13: 978-0900384141
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,915,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Max Stirner's Egoism Paperback – January 1, 1976
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Because he never understood what Stirner was doing, John Clark jousts with a make-believe ghost of Stirner that he has dreamed up in an attempt to make some minimal sense of Stirner's work for himself. However, in order to do this Clark is forced to argue throughout that Stirner advocated a philosophy of the (generic) ego. And he does this all the while ignoring completely the meanings of Stirner's own text and Stirner's insistence that he was advocating, not another philosophy, but a critique of the "fixed ideas" required for the creation and development of any and all possible religion or philosophy.
Contrary to all of John Clark's baseless assertions, Max Stirner's critique is simply not founded on an idea or concept -- of an "ego" or of anything else. It is founded on a preconceptual level of lived experience. Not the lived experience of an idea of one's self, but on the actual experience of living, which Stirner is at pains to point out can never be conceptualized (without oversimplifying, abstracting, and thus falsifying it). The central figure of Stirner's critique is not an "ego," a word which he never even mentions. It is the "Einzige," which literally translates as "the unique" or "the unique one," and is meant only as an "empty" name for "who" he is or "who" a person is, not as a concept which in any way could describe or explain what one is. For Stirner the Einzige is a name for the phenomenological experience one undergoes before the conceptualization and symbolic description of that experience.Read more ›
In 'The Nihilistic Egoist: Max Stirner,' R. W. K. Paterson argues that Stirner's egoism is nihilistic, to which Clark tacitly assents in the introduction by a trifecta of critical decisions that cannot be interpreted otherwise: (1) referring to Paterson's work as 'competent,' (2) claiming that he, Clark, would rather 'focus on the social and political implications,' and (3) refusing to treat Stirner's nihilism anywhere in the work based on the unjustifiable tacit assertion that even a belief in nothing is a positivism (so that Stirner must believe in something). Paterson's argument is vindicated by the fact that all Stirnerite positions presuppose nihilism, outward from which they grow and cohere into the unity of The Ego and Its Own. This basic nihilism is entailed by the consequences of the essence of the post-Hegelian critical method to which Stirner is indebted as well as the priority of the Stirnerite 'creative nothing' and its existence as a self-dissolving subjective intentionality whose dynamic force realizes itself on the level of pre-conceptual experience and action in the world. Therefore, one ought to criticize every Stirnerite notion entailed by Stirner's nihilism in order to see whether Stirner's issuing arguments pass nihilist muster, or at least attempt to refute Stirnerite nihilism as a tenable position.Read more ›
He notes the complex intrerrelationship between Stirner and Karl Marx at the outset. He discusses key points in Stirner's work. He notes Stirner's role in the political theory of anarchism. He discusses at some length Stirner's view of the "union of egoists."
Ultimately, Clark believes that Stirner misses the mark because his radical individualism is not cognizant of the social nature of humankind.
At any rate, a useful brief work on Stirner.
I would suggest that the interested reader begin here. Next, I would recommend Mackay's biography of Stirner, followed then by another book entitled "Individuality and the Social Organism." James L. Walker's book "The Philosophy of Egoism" is also highly recommended (the book which introduced me to egoism).