Talk:Max Stirner/Archive 1

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Pseudonym/move entry

His pseudonym of Max Stirner is far far more common than this name (which is Johann Kaspar Schmidt in full anyway). This article should go at Max Stirner with this one a redirect there, and his birth name given in the first paragraph of the article. I'd move it, but the stub at Max Stirner means I can't. I'll see if a friendly sysop will do it if there's no objections (and if there are objections, I will counter-object very strongly). --Camembert

Several major writeups

Several major additions and complete rewrites contributed to sections on Biography and Philosophy, with the aim to provide more accurate information as to the chronology of Stirners life, his sources of inspiration and an understanding of the line of the argument in his philosophy. Most references to Marx are moved to the Influences section, where they belong IMO, and made slightly more precise. Removed minor suggestions to the friendship 'working together' between Marx and Stirner, since there is no historical record to indicate any such relation, except for the facts now stated. --Morten Blaabjerg 18:57, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

To Whom is This "Interesting"?

"It is interesting to note that, according to some subsequent comparative philosphy based on Stirner's views, cartesian criticism also results in nihilism."

It isn't interesting unless it means something -- and if it does, that something requires explanation. All this seems to mean is that those influenced by Stirner think it is good to be influenced by Stirner, and call their exposition of that view by the bame "comparative philosophy" -- which is boring.

Hey, if it was up to me, I'd remove that comment entirely. But something tells me that Silverback would never give up trying to re-add it (or a more POV version of it). Oh, and by the way, Christofurio, please log in. ;) -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 12:52, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think I've removed the "interesting" phrasing, although it is interesting in a meaningful sense, because it is similar to mathmatics, when two different ways of solving a problem give the same result it gives more confidence in the result. Similarly in physics, when two different means to calculate a constant are within error bounds of each other and converge with time. Cartesian reductionism down to cognito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) was quickly accepted. Flaws were seen in his attempts to construct something back up from the nihilism that he had achieve. In fact, one can consider much of western philosophy since his time, as attempts overcome this nihilism that appeared logically unavoidable. So, it is interesting the hegelian criticism, despite its seeming uniqueness, was shown within the neoHegelian community to also result in nihilism, and Stirner's contemporaries felt it was convincing enough to require a response.--Silverback 18:06, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I certainly disagree with your assertions, but your latest edit to the article is very good (having finally established NPOV), so I believe we can declare this dispute officially closed. :) -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 15:25, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Sorry to re-open it once more... I have removed one of the two pieces on the "cartesian criticism", so there remains just one - as they were repeating the same point twice, in slightly different ways. This is the piece I took out :
Stirner took Hegelian criticism to what he claimed to be its logical conclusion, nihilism. This nihilism was an intellectual challenge to his colleagues in much the same way as cartesian criticism was in the other major branch of western philosophy
I would appreciate if you would care to elaborate on this point, Silverback, as it is still by no means clear what you mean by this. Perhaps even write a complete section on this point, with references. Could you provide an academic source or reference for the point you want to make? --Morten 00:46, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Biography

Is it accurate that Sterner's biography was, "published in German around the turn of the 19th century," given his birth in 1806?

I have changed this part. Mackay's biography was published in 1898, near the turn of the 20th century.--Davidwestling2
Sorry this was a typo of mine - it should have read "published around the turn of the 20th century" - it was a slip, but the present wording is far more precise (didn't remember the exact date). -- Morten 16:50, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It is highly probable that Stirner and Marx never meet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.123.101.179 (talk) 03:58, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Restructuring, making the text more correlative/homogenous

Restructured and rewrote a bit, added a few pieces here and there, to make the text more homogenous.

Section on "borders on the edge of language and reality" re-included, as I believe this is the vital aspect of Stirners philosophy, and why it feels so disturbing to a great number of people. The consequences for language, attribution of meaning and reality is elaborated more deeply further down in the 'philosophy' section, so I believe the sentence in itself does not need to explain what follows below. The reason why Stirners philosophy "borders on the edge of language and reality" is clearly that it disturbs the traditional attribution of meaning to human existance, heavily pioneering a modern media critique which centres precisely on language and reality. (added this under Influences)

Cleaned a bit up in the influences section, as some information was already discussed in the article. What 'other major branch of western philosophy'? Broadened the wording of the Cartesian thingy - one can read more in the cartesian entry, as long as there's a link to that discussion. I hope this is broad yet precise enough to hold the implications discussed above, if not, please elaborate.

I would like to see sources or influences named on the gender issue - who was influenced by Stirner, when, where and why? I moved the sentence on gender roles to the 'influences' section.

Morten Blaabjerg 02:40, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I also downplayed the 'nihilism' of the text, as I believe the 'nihilism' of Stirner is too constraining for his thinking to be contained by such a category. It doesn't fit very well to Stirner, who does not use this concept, nor use the concept of anarchy for that matter, (although I find this a more descriptive term, than an ideological one). One could easily argue Stirner to be a conservative, as he clearly opposes a revolution with the claim that a revolution only exchanges one 'spook' with another. He is none of it all, and everything of it, depending on the context he's read in. Clear are his hegelian roots and his radical demolition of religion, ideology and language.
I have tried as much as possible to use Stirners own phrases in the 'philosophy' section, and keep everything else in the 'influences' section.-- Morten Blaabjerg 03:18, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Nihilism is not very constraining. I don't think his lack of belief in movements for change make him a conservative, perhaps he would be better described as an "inactivist". In the United States libertarian movement, there is a term for lack of willingness to expend resources trying to change the world, it is called "Harry Browning it", and was inspired by Harry Browne's egoistic viewpoint expressed in his book "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World". He surprised later on with what many see as a reversal, by running for president as the Libertarian Party candidate.
While using some of Stirner's language adds some of his flavor to the article, his writing was hardly for the ecyclopedic/academic audience, in addition to translating it to English, I think it also helps to translate it from the Hegelian insider lingo, although perhaps, like all translation this also involves interpretation.--Silverback 04:22, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Interesting notes - 'Harry Browning it' might be an interesting addition to the influences section, as I long thought that the consequences of Stirners thought are often far radicalized. The book is anti-ideological, anti-isms more than anything else. -- Morten 16:50, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've never seen any evidence that Harry Browne was influenced by Stirner, just the possible similarity in their choice of individualism over ideology. Since Harry Browne's signature book was written in 1973, it is late enough to perhaps to have been influenced by a little bit of the Stirner revival. However, Browne seemed more interested in financial rather than philosophical matters. He certainly succeeded in raising the ire of the libertarian ideology true believers in Stirner'esque fashion.--Silverback 00:04, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I reworked some of the material towards the end of the Influences section, mostly just grammatical stuff. I did augment the section which refers to Baudrillard to put some distance between postmodernist/poststructrualist thinking and Stirner's viewpoint, which I find very important at this juncture in the history of ideas. --davidwestling2

Where was Stirner banned?

Quote from the article: His philosophy has been disturbing, sometimes even banned as a direct threat to civilization.

A lot of works have been "banned" in a lot of places, to the point that it's almost a meaningless thing to say. Anyone have a source for where Stirner's works might have been "banned", and in what form? Is this the Dogbreath County School District? Nazi Germany? The Third Federal Circuit Court of Appeals? The Free Separatist Nation of Staythehellout? The Index Prohibitorum? Soviet Russia? --FOo 04:35, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Hmmmm... perhaps banned is not the right word, as I haven't heard any mention of the book being the object of direct censorship (although in the cases you mention his ideas would have been quite uncomfortable to exist in print). I have elaborated a bit on this aspect on the page, but maybe you can add to that. What I originally meant by this, was the exclusion and omission of Stirners work from 'accepted academic or political discourse' if you will - so 'banned' in this regard as something you couldn't say out loud without being ridiculed and considered nonsensical. - This no doubt mostly stems from Marx's treatment of his work, which is extremely satirical of Stirner's ideas, and is probably why Stirner's name is like totally washed away from the history of philosophy, in most 'traditional' literature. --Morten 21:24, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Sure, I can see how Stirner's position has been marginalized. However, an awful lot of works have actually been banned in one sense or another. Sometimes this means that people are prohibited from selling them, or can suffer persecution from owning them -- for instance various samizdat works in the Soviet Union. In other cases it means that they are perfectly legal to own and sell, but excluded from libraries, for instance in U.S. public school districts. In other cases, works have been termed "banned" because groups have picketed bookstores that sell them, or booksellers have been prosecuted but found innocent -- for instance The Tin Drum.
Still, in my mind there's a big difference between "banned" in the sense of being socially marginalized and "banned" in the sense of being forbidden by law. The former has nothing particularly to do with a work's value (after all, many bad works are socially marginalized, for reason of their being not very good) but the latter frequently has a great deal to do with the work's value (because people in power are threatened by it). So I am very interested to know if Stirner's work has actually been banned anywhere, or if it has simply been disregarded. --FOo 05:22, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree with the marx theory above. With marxist zealots, Marx's mocking dismissal of Stirner was the gospel on the subject and there was no more need to read Stirner themselves than there was to think for themselves. That might require them to question the marxist "faith", and questioning was forbidden. Hmmm, perhaps a social ostracism similar to shunning (or is shouting down more likely?) is what brought "banning" to someone's mind.--Silverback 08:27, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Oh please! Stirner's work is available in German as a Reklam edition, and in English as a twice-recently-reprinted volume in the "Cambridge editions in the history of political philosophy". Considering that he only wrote one book he's hardly "marginalized"! In his own time, the book caused quite a sensation, and was very well known --"the talk of the town" in all the newspapers, etc. (more than one can say for any living philosopher). It has been through a few revivals of interest since then. Even in the USSR, Stirner did have a place in the library because of his historical connection to Engels, etc.; the accident of his knowing (and being "critiqued") by Marx and Engels very much ensured that his philosophy would not be forgotten. Aside from that, there's a long list of artists and anarchists who invoke his name every so often. Who can complain that Stirner is "forgotten" or "suppressed"? If you're not already very well read in 19th century politics and philosophy, there are many long passages of the book that are nearly incomprehensible; and its numerous literary allusions (etc.) further remove it from the grasp of "the common man". It is rather amazing that the book isn't completely obscure --and, moreover, that it has so many ardent admirers among "men of action" rather than mere academics and artists.

A lot of ignorant errors to be corrected

(1) Re: the question of Stirner being "Banned", it is a well known anecdote that the reason why the title page of the 1st edition is "post-dated" by 1 year is that he *anticipated* that it would be banned (i.e., and only gradually come to light a year following) but the censor actually did let it pass with the comment that it was "too absurd" to do any harm. This bit of odd humour is noted in the introduction to the current Cambridge edition.

(2) The following statement is completely absurd to anyone who HAS ACTUALLY READ BOTH HEGEL'S WORK AND STIRNER'S: [quote] Stirner attended university in Berlin, where he attended the lectures of Hegel, who was to become a vital source of inspiration for his thinking, and on the structure of whose work Phenomenology of Spirit (org. Phänomenologie des Geistes), he modelled his own book. [\quote]

There is absolutely *no* grounds to say Hegel was a "vital source of inspiration" to Stirner --Stirner absolutely ridicules Hegel throughout his book, and has nothing but contempt for Hegel's work (some of it being well-grounded criticism, but much of it just "poking fun"). Secondly, why don't you compare the table of contents of Hegel's _Phanomenolgie des Geistes_ to Stirner's _Der Einzige..._ --is there anything in common? No, nothing. The two books are as different as night and day --in form, in content, every way!

I believe the following should be added as Wiki policy: IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE PRIMARY SOURCES, PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRIES! The fact that one of your idiot professors vaguely suggested something doesn't mean its supported by the historical facts or the original texts. I have already tried to re-write the entry on Hegel to reflect the historical reality of Stirner's relations with his various contemporary philosophers --but someone insists on spreading these mythical notions from the bottom of the barrel of philosophy department gossip. Read the book, or else don't write the article! (--UNSIGNED ENTRY! WHO WROTE THE ABOVE?)

(In response to the above):

  1. Please sign statements with the 'signature' menu over the edit-box.
  2. Please don't insult other contributors - there's no reason to, and it's not a good starting point for any kind of discussion. If you think something is wrong in the article, you're free to rewrite it - with respect to other contributions. The goal is to get the best and most comprehensible NPOV article about Stirner as possible - in itself quite difficult, as I know personally from several rewrites of the article.
  3. I've personally read the book at least twice, in translation, and written several papers on Stirner and related subjects. The latest Danish translation of the work is very concise, and to the word of the original. The 'mythical notions' you're talking about (which I believe you're right about, in part) - try writing them into the article - that will make them more concrete. I would like to know more. If it's not in the article, it should be.
I am no philosopher, but a history man. Where I find Stirners thinking relates to Hegel is partly based on things I've read (especially the writings of Lawrence Stepelevich, which I find is quite interesting) - but to a great deal also with my personal experience of applying Stirner's philosophy as a philosophy of history. Yes, it is true, Stirner ridicules many (if not all) of his contemporaries - but what I find the more paradoxical (and impressive), is that while his work is critizising the thinking of Hegel, Feuerbach et.al. it is yet fundamentally rooted in this kind of thinking.
Stirner's 'creative nothing' arises from his repeated argument of tearing down every absolute concept in existance, discovering a languageless void (when nothing can be described in absolute terms, there's not only nothing - not even nothing exists there; Yngve Ahlberg (Sweden) has written a dissertation about this line Stirner's thinking - I personally haven't read all of it). This 'nothingness' creates room for the creativeness of existance - the individual self. This is why Stirner can create so much fun out of saying "he has based and rests his case on nothing" - he is actually basing everything on himself, who has come from nothing. What does this have to do with Hegel? - A lot IMO, as it is a line of dialectical thinking, which is modelled on Hegel's. Stirner would not be able to reach his conclusion without Hegel. That is why it is even more of a ridicule IMO, that he in part models the structure of his work and argument on Hegel's. Stirner clearly was inspired by Hegel, even though he reached radically different (IMO brilliant) conclusions. --Morten 19:34, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Put the phrase <quote>(Stirner clearly embraced both psychological egoism and ethical egoism)</quote> back in - I agree, it is not perfect, but no short introduction to Stirner will probably ever be. I think it is worth keeping this distinction, and I believe it pretty much sums up what Stirner is about, in the introducing paragraph.
Stirners egoism is psychological, in the way, that he believes all people naturally act in their own interest, even those 'possessed by spooks'. And it is ethical, in the way, that his point is that individuals will only be themselves, when they realize their burden of false ideals, and begin to act according to their egoism. I'd like to hear arguments for the contrary, if this phrase should be removed. --Morten 02:17, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Morten--your vitriol is misplaced. You cite Stepelevich, but ignore his basic ideas on both Stirner and Hegel. Please see his article, "Max Stirner as Hegelian", _Journal of the History of Ideas_, v.15, pp. 597-614 (1985), for a well-mounted discussion of the Stirner/Hegel relationship. We are speaking of dialectics here, Morten. Opposites are _related_ in such a schema. Yes, Stirner thoroughly repudiates Hegel, but at the same time, he employs some of the most important elements of Hegelian structure and many of Hegel's basic presuppositions to arrive at his own conclusions. Stepelevich quotes the prominent historian of philosophy Karl Lowith, who says that _Ego_ is "in reality an ultimate logical consequence of Hegel's historical system". As Stepelevich continues, "In Hegelian terms, the thought of Stirner is taken as a phenomenological exemplification of spirit's advance to ultimate self-knowledge." Stepelevich then tips his hat to those who have a hard time making any connection between these two radically different thinkers; he acknowleges that _Ego_ had an " evidently 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. Nevertheless, this does not mean that Hegel and Stirner are not related on the most intimate level. Stepelevich again: "The main juncture leading from Hegel to Stirner is found [in the _Phenomenology_--dw] at the termination of a phenomenological passage to absolute knowledge. Stirner's work is most clearly understood when it is taken to be the answer to the question, 'what role willl consciousness play after it has traversed the series of shapes known as 'untrue' knowledge and has attained to absolute knowledge?'" In other words, to go beyond Hegel in true dialectical fashion is to continue Hegel's project, and Stepelevich argues persuasively that this effort of Stirner's is, in fact a _completion_ of Hegel's overall project. Stepelevich concludes this important essay with an example from _Phenomenology of Spirit_ which seems to point directly to Stirner's _Ego_: "This last shape of Spirit--the spirit which at the same time gives its complete and true content the form of the Self and thereby realizes its Notion as remaining in its Notion in this realization--this is absolute knowing...the nature, moments, and movement of this knowing have, then, shown themselves to be such that this knowing is a pure _being-for-self_ of self-consciousness, it is 'I', that is _this_ and no other 'I', and which is no less immediately a _mediated_ ot superceded _universal 'I'. Stirner would reject this last part of Hegel's formulation, that there is an identity existing between the personal 'I' and some universal 'I', but it is clear that Stepelevich is on to something significant here. Stirner's work looks all the more profound and transformational when seen in the light of his close, albeit largely antagonistic, relationship to the master-philosopher George W.F. Hegel.--davidwestling2 April 24 2005 3:06pm CDT

Interesting discussion and interesting points, David. We should get some more of this into the article. I'm not really repudiating any of your above points, as I believe you're better read than myself on this topic. Whether Stirner's project is a completion or repudation of Hegel's project is beyond me, and perhaps also beyond Stirner, as mr. Anonymous claims. --Morten 1 July 2005 23:53 (UTC)

New note from anonymous:

This is a note from the fellow who put in the initial posting under this rubrick --no, I will not divest myself of my (limited) anonymity. Morton's absurd post states

quote: "...he is actually basing everything on himself, who has come from nothing. What does this have to do with Hegel? - A lot IMO, as it is a line of dialectical thinking, which is modelled on Hegel's. Stirner would not be able to reach his conclusion without Hegel." end quote

--In this statement, Morton has made two completely unsubstantiated claims here: (1) that when Stirner 'is basing everything on himself' it is 'a dialectical line of thinking'. Does the word "Dialectical" mean anything to you? You certainly aren't using a Hegelian definition of the term! Can you provide me with one instance of Stirner using Hegel's dialectical method in the entire corpus of his writing? Yes or no? There is no Hegelian dialectic when Stirner says "Man is not the measure of all things, but rather, *I am*"; nor is there there any dialectical proof/reasoning behind the claims "I am nothing, but I am creative nothing; a chaos...". Neither in method nor in structure (nor in its conclusions) do any of these tenets share any common features with Hegel! (2) The second unsupported claim is that Stirner "would not be able to reach this conclusion without Hegel". The latter assertion is so weak and absurd that one might as easily say that all philosophies in in disagreement with Hegel "would be impossible without Hegel". Certainly, from the standpoint of an encyclopedia article, it is absurd to include such a tendentious sort of claim as if it were an established fact --but in terms of Stirner's own description of the sources of his philosopy, one can no more credit Hegel than Jesus Christ as a "great inspiration". He thinks Christianity is a joke and a fraud, too --so should we list the Bible as one of his "sources of inspiration"? Stirner certainly quotes the Bible more often than Hegel --but in both cases it is only in order to ridicule the source in question. Any attempt to exaggerate the importance of Hegel's philosophy in relation to Stirner seems to founder on this simple point (you could as easily claim that Hegel was a great influence over Arthur Schopenhauer or Karl Popper --as both attacked Hegel at great length). Moreover, is it not rather obvious that (quantitatively) Stirner has fewer words about/against Hegel than even a figure like Feuerbach, or the half-dozen nearly forgotten figures of 19th century German Liberalism that he lambastes throughout the book? The assertion that Hegel (alone or above all others) is of some special significance in Stirner's critique rings very hollow --is it not rather the case that of the vast array of establishment figures that Stirner attacks, Hegel is simply the only one still read by University students today? Or is there some very profound, "structural" reason why all the other objects of Stirner's contempt and derision are passed over without comment in this encyclopedia article, but Hegel alone is exalted as so terribly important? One specific example: It is utterly risible that you try to pin "Ich habe mein sache auf nichts gestellt" on Hegel when the actual phrase is a quote from Goethe. What, will you now claim that Goethe is an Hegelian?

And in reply to Davidwestling...

This fellow Davidwestling has very carefully set out a false conclusion from a sound premise. I appreciate his (important) concession that _Der Einzige_ quote "had an 'evidently un-Hegelian structure...'" end quote --let me just halt on this point and remind all assembled that it was the structure of the work that I pointed out is *not Hegelian* in my original posting --and I said then (as now) that this should be evident even from looking at the table of contents. However, this absurd assertion that there is any common ground between the Stirner's philosophical analysis of thinking and the Hegelian "Spook" of "Absolute thinking" is completely false --and is easily refuted by quoting the primary source itself. Why don't you look up "Absolute thinking" in the Index of your Danish [Correction: Swedish] edition (if it has an index) and read Sitner's many statements that "Absolute thinking is nothing but thinking that has forgotten that merely 'I' am the thinker ..." etc. etc. Do you really imagine that you have grasped the outermost hem of Stirner's philosophy if you think his philosophy of the self is equivalent to Hegel's "Notion thinking itself ... absolute knowing ... pure being as such ... etc. etc."? Do you think Stirner refuted and dismissed all these abstract notions for no reason except to exercise his penmanship? Given that Stirner's own work contains a lengthy rejection of "Absolute knowledge" as the goal of philosophy or life, it is completely laughable for some academic to say:

quote: "Stirner's work is most clearly understood when it is taken to be the answer to the question, 'what role willl consciousness play after it has traversed the series of shapes known as 'untrue' knowledge and has attained to absolute knowledge?" end quote

Stirner attacks the dichotomies between true and untrue, absolute and relative knowledges at their most fundamental level, and sets up his own attitudes toward knowing on a basis completely alien to both the Platonic and the Hegelian traditions: do you recall the passage, "Truths exist in space in my head just as that stone exists in space on the street"? How about "Truths are my creatures, my creations, they arise from me and come to rest in me; I am not a creature haunted by the truth"... etc. etc.

Final note

I find it very touching to hear that you have read the book in question --and I am sorry if you were so offended at my request that you actually read the book before writing an encyclopedia article about it. Perhaps I should have instead requested that you "Understand" the book, and suggested that you "Report on its contents in a detached manner, instead of super-imposing a bunch of crazy nonsense that is completely spurious to it, and represents not Stirner, but the bored scribbles of Hegelian-trained academicians". Fundamentally, an encyclopedia exists to emphatically state what something is --not what it might be if interpreted by a spurious (an in this case opposed) philosophy. I could easily concot a paragraph raving about the common features of Stirner's philosophy with Nagarjuna --but this would be a super-imposition, that really has nothing to do with Stirner's philosophy as such. Likewise, DW's claim that "Hegel and Stirner are... related on the most intimate level" is simly a modern, Hegelian superimposition; it 'does not describe an "intimate relation" that actually exists in the tenets of Stirner's text, but only a really obscure (and, I would say, untenable) "relationship" posited by a modern reader. I, too, could posit any number of such "intimate relations" (e.g., Stirner as the follower of Sextus Empiricus --quite a bit more tenable than supposing Stirner shares Hegel's notions of the self as "Pure Spirit knowing itself"!) but they would be alien to the subject, and it would be completely false to assert them (in an encyclopedia!) as some kind of actually existing relationship to be found in the text --or in the biography of the author in question! --ANONYMOUS

(Morten's reply to the above)
I haven't read all of your argument above as I am short on time at the time of posting, but to the point of examples of to the dialectical thinking of Stirner's work, the whole work is obviously dialectical to me.
A nothingness (thesis - devoid of any absolute meaning, after Stirner's 'demolition') --> something (antithesis - description/language/creation) --> I / Ego (synthesis - who creates, describes, acquires property).
This is as far as my very sparse Hegelian reading (admittedly) goes. But as far as I am concerned this makes perfect sense. I'll recommend Ahlberg's work, if you want to read more on this perspective. I'll agree there are many others.
Finally, feel free to be anonymous (I wonder why you can't be with a login, if you so desire?), but make sure to not create confusion as to that you wrote and what others wrote, and sign your statements accordingly. --Morten 1 July 2005 23:53 (UTC)

[D.W.'s reply] To anonymous--

I would ask that you formulate your arguments a little more carefully. We are on some difficult ground here. I agree that Sitner does not stand on the ground of "absolute knowledge" as it is formulated by Hegel. When one considers Stepelevich's argument, I take it as axiomatic that one must translate old terminology into new in some important sense. To reach the standpoint of the 'I', an 'I' that is not limited by its _petty_ particularities, is what I think Stepelevich is arguing Hegel thought of as absolute knowledge; naturally one cannot use such a term in speaking of Sitner's orientation. "Absolute knowledge", according to such a reading, is merely Hegel's term for something that, in Sitner's world-view, becomes something quite different. (By the way, "Westling" is Scandinavian, it's true; but from this it does not follow that I have easy recourse to some Danish edition of Sitner's writings. That was some other guy. I have four editions of _Ego_/_Einzige_: Reclam 1892, Boni and Liveright, 1918, Dover Press, 1973, and the Cambridge 1995.) Sitner attended Hegel's lectures when at the University of Berlin; in any case Hegel was the one that had to be taken into account more than any other figure in any attempt to move beyond the death-oriented philosophy which he so assiduously perfected. Thus, it is inescapable that any philosopher worth his salt in this period would need to employ Hegel as a foundation for subsequent developments. One might peruse a book by a colleague of Sitner's, a certain Bruno Bauer, who wrote a diatribe entitled _Trumpet of he Last Judgement Against Hegel the Atheist and Antichrist_ which appeared three years before _Der Einzige_; this same idea is put forward there, that Hegel, _without realizing it_, had made the endpoint of his philosophy the finite ego, even though he couched his terminology in the depths of abstraction. The effort, then, in the period of the _Vormarz_, was to reveal the "true spirit" of Hegelianism to itself, to banish the obfuscation in Hegel's philosophy while retaining the real advances he had achieved. One must, after all, deal with the problem of the "crass" ego or the ego which doesn't understand how to engage in the overall Critique of world and experience. One cannot merely stay on the plane of sense perception; one must pass through various stages of consciousness to arrive at a state of mind which incorporates and synthesizes many forms of perceiving the world. This is Hegel's great contribution to philosophy. To extend this argument to the realm of the Bauerian Critique, for example, the ego in capitalism, imprisoned as it is within the confines of the Protestant Ethic, cannot find its own unique self underneath its Calvinistic quest for membership in the elect. It is doomed to remain a mere _type_, the type of _homo economicus_. One must interrogate the self all the way down to its deepest level, and here we have the basis for examination of unconscious motivations that became the "science" of psychoanalysis. Only after one passes through the Feuerbach is one truly Unique. To term this new state of being "absolute knowledge" would be misleading in the extreme but it arguably corresponds to the territory that was, however wrongheadedly, demarcated by Hegel.--davidwestling2 4/25/05 2:26 PM CDT

[Conversation continues in the topic below]

Amendments; Stirner and/or/as/against Hegel

Anonymous speaketh thusly:

(1) I have attempted a "Friendly amendment" to the paragraph on Hegel --I hope you can recognise that modern Hegelian opinions about Stirner *are opinions*, and the phrasing needs to make it clear that this is a 20th century POV, *not* an argument inherent in Stirner's text:

Stirner attended university in Berlin, where he attended the lectures of Hegel, among others. Some modern Hegelians maintain that Hegel was an important inspiration for Stirner's thinking, although there are neither structural, nor logical similarities between their philosophies, and Stirner's own comments about Hegel's work are entirely contemptuous and dismissive thereof. However, some Hegelians feel that Stirner's critique of Hegel shows a profound awareness of Hegel's work, and therefore suggest that Hegel's philosophy must be important to Stirner's intellectual development --even if Stirner's mature philosophy comprises a thorough repudiation of Hegelianism (both in form and content).

(2) The phrase about psychological egoism and ethical egoism has been presented as a separate little paragraph --again, I've retained the point you nutty Hegelians are trying to make, but have made it clear that this is only a POV, and differs from the writ of the original text!

Stiner has been broadly understood as a proponent of both psychological egoism and ethical egoism, although he did refute the latter position in his own writing, maintaining that there is no sense in which one "ought to" pursue one's own interest, and further claiming any such category of "ought" to belie a crypto-religious conceit/cause. The notion that one's own interest (or one's own nature) is a "calling" to which one is beholden (or "ought to follow" in any moral or imperative sense) is, strictly speaking, contrary to Stirner's tenets.

(3) In reply to D.W., I have clearly stated my argument, and you have not provided any substance for the wacky claims you make linking Stirner to Hegel. Vague statements such as "Stirner extends and explores the limits of Hegelian criticism..." really do not cut it in the world of philosophy; if you can't actually show that Stirner uses the logical structure of Hegelian critique (hint: he doesn't!) then don't make such airy, baseless claims in an encyclopedia. Stirner has a sub-chapter in which he attacks and repudiates "Criticism" as a movement in philosophy --and he correctly attributes the origin of this "movement" to Kant, not Hegel. Hegel was hardly the only author to write Pseudo-Kantian sounding books with titles and chapter-titles named Critique of... in 19th century Germany --and men such as Stirner and Schopenhauer saw right through the academic jargon of that Hegel and his ilk had inherited from Kant and Chr. Wolff. Your supposedly historical claim that Hegel is simply "So important" that Stirner could not fail to have been dependent upon him (and Feuerbach of all people!) in constructing his own philosophy is precisely the kind of academic nonsense that gets laughed out of the room in the company of real philosophers: if Stirner repudiates Hegel, and you claim that in fact Stirner's philosophy is built on Hegelian concepts and methods you have to prove it. In Stirner's case, there is a very large burden of proof incumbent upon you --and you have not proven anything except that the extreme vagueness of some of Hegel's conclusions in the _P. des Geistes_ can be construed (by later, 20th century readers) as having something to do with the ego. So what? Marxists read Hegel as if he were talking about politics when he was talking about the unity of the mind of God; and, most hilariously, Francis Fukuyama interprets passages in which Hegel attacks constitutional monarchy (and defends slavery!) as justifications for electoral democracy and capitalist economics. These "latter-day readings" of Hegel do not reveal anything inherent in Hegel's text --and your assertion that one such "creative interpretation" of Hegel has something (very vague) in common with Stirner's conception of the ego proves absolutely nothing about either Stirner or Hegel as source texts. Reminder: an encyclopedia article about an author should describe that author, his work, and (briefly) the character of the texts he produced. Do not present 20th/21st century re-interpretations as if they were written by Stirner himself! If you want to set up a separate sub-chapter in the article titled Scholarly Re-interpretations, and then clearly indicate that these are P.O.V. statements by Hegelians, I can allow it --but you're writing this stuff as if it described the content of Stirner's own work --it doesn't! Stirner's own work repudiates Hegel, and neither makes use of the structure of Hegel's _Phenomenology_ (which your Encyclopedia article originally claimed!) nor does it borrow terminology or content from Hegel --nor is there even one tenet about which Stirner is in agreement with Hegel! So, to speak precisely, these are two completely opposed philosophers, that some modern Hegelians like to compare to one-another on the basis of a psychological re-interpretation of Hegel (wherein, notably, Hegel's often used "absolute" become quite non-absolute!). This does not mean that Stirner's philosophy "Would have been impossible without Hegel" --and if you cannot actually demonstrate any kind of intellectual inheritance from Hegel in the tenets positively esposed by Stirner's philosophy, you must concede this point. The fact that Stirner derided and ridiculed Hegel does not make him one of Hegel's disciples; the very opposite should be obvious (to anyone but a Hegelian --you guys always have trouble with "opposites" --I guess it's that doctrine of "the unity of opposites" that you're preaching all the time, ha ha).

More blather from DW-- I'd appreciate it if you left off that "voice of god" attitude you seem to so hooked on and just debated this like an ordinary mortal. You don't have the power to disallow anything. Anon, it's really pretty uncontroversial what I am claiming. Stirner was part of the Young Hegelian group, wasn't he? They were Hegelians! Renegade ones, to be sure, but this is part of the historical record. There's D.F. Strauss, who wrote Das Leben Jesu in 1835-36, which was the first step away from the Master's Lutheranism. August von Ciezskowski took the Hegelian dialectic and applied it to political theory--"the future will be an age of acts and not of facts." Then, we have Bruno Bauer, who proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Christ did not exist, and opened the way towards philosophic atheism. This was all done in the context of a response to Hegel's system, with a growing opposition to it gathering steam with each new step. Feuerbach gained notoriety by critiquing Hegel's position regarding abstraction; his "Towards a Critique of Hegelian Philosophy" of 1839 was a watershed in the development of philosophic materialism. In contrast to PhG, The Essence of Christianity was indeed the immediate point of departure for Stirner's magnum opus. Stirner's book was mainly a response to Feuerbach's, who was the reigning intelligence in Young Hegelian circles at the time. Der Einzige, as you may recall, opens with a quote from Feuerbach. Much of the book is merely (merely!) a lengthy dissection of Feuerbach's simple assertion, "Man is to Man the true Supreme Being." It's true, Stirner has developed a perspective in which Hegelian terminology as such no longer has a place. He has thoroughly moved beyond Hegel. But this does not obviate the matrix from which Stirner's thought appeared. For a thorough discussion of the lineaments of the Young Hegelian enterprise as a whole, I recommend John Toews' Hegelianism (1980). Toews' dense account would not benefit from anything I might contribute to "prove" that all these thinkers are intimately related, and, moverover, trace the origins of their perspectives essentially to Hegel. This argument is becoming quite tiresome, and I would only add at this point that I am in no way, shape or form a Hegelian, nor am I an academic. "Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints!" "For he who contends against vice, vice exists." I will leave you to contemplate such dialectically formulated quotes and "allow" you to draw your own conclusons.--Davidwestling2 4/26/05

Anonymous speaketh thusly (2):

I am not "playing god", D.W., I am playing the part of a man who has read all the primary sources in question --and I find your contentions absolutely laughable --and they reflect the kind of over-reliance on secondary sources that modern universities encourage. Take, e.g., your statement that it is "a matter of historical record" that Stirner "was" a quote-on-quote "Young Hegelian". Why don't you find me one passage where Stirner describes himself as a "Hegelian"? There isn't one. Who were these so-called "Young Hegelians"? They were, as a matter of historical record called Die Freien --they never called themselves young hegelians. They called themselves "The Free", and they had very little in common with one-another --and even less in common with Hegel. The only group of philosophers Stirner was a part of as a matter of historical record was Die Freien --none other! Some later Hegelians (who wrote the histories of philosophy long after Stirner was dead) lumped him in with the followers of Hegel --and if (e.g.) you want to call Bruno Bauer or Feuerbach a follower of Hegel, I don't really care to debate the point. However, the claim that Stirner was a Hegelian --given what he explicitly says about Hegel's philosophy-- is an unproven assertion, and one that would be very difficult to prove. Your abstract statement that, despite the total lack of Hegelian terminology, tenets or method in Stirner's philosophy, there is a "Matrix" of influence that associates Stirner with Hegel is really quite weak. Why do you suppose Hegel is a more important influence than, say, Adam Smith? In case you didn't know, Stirner spent years translating Adam Smith's book The Wealth of Nations from English into German --he thought that Smith was a very important thinker. He never said anything so nice about Hegel! Now Adam Smith was a very influential 19th century thinker --and, unlike Hegel, he wrote about the themes that Stirner cared about --such as self-interest, egoism, and how these relate to social change. Isn't it interesting how this encyclopedia article doesn't mention Adam Smith, but your vague assertion of a "Matrix" of influence seems to justify copious assertions about Hegel? Look, D.W., I am being ascerbic, but I am not being unreasonable: I quoted my proposed amendments to the article above (in my prior message), and they do include clear statements that Hegel was (debatably) an important influence --and that some people today think Hegel was a very important influence. I'm not one of those people, but I'm also not trying to exclude your view from the article --so long as it is clear that it is only one POV! I have already stated in my previous argument that a great deal of the book is written in reply to Feuerbach --so obviously I do not disagree with you (D.W.) that Feuerbach's work was important to Stirner's development. However, the fact that Stirner repudiates Feuerbach does not make him a Hegelian (the opposite supposition is very difficult to defend!); on the contrary, if you look at the sources Stirner actually *agreed with*, or that Stirner says were important to him, you get a much different picture of the "Matrix" of values out of which _Der Einzige_ emerged. The first half of _Der Einzige_ is largely a dismissal of contemporary philosophy (and/or contemporary European civilization generally) --have you considered what sources were influencing Stirner in the composition of the positive assertion of his own philosophy? e.g., "The Union", and other lengthy passages, in which he is explaining his own views, rather than just attacking Hegel and Feuerbach? There is certainly nothing Hegelian in the positive portion of Stirner's work --and to say that there is an inherently Hegelian quality in the purely negative passages lambasting Hegel seems to me an inherently flawed argument. --ANONYMOUS USER

(reply to the above)
Anonymous, I've deleted my recent reply to you, as I've read more thoroughly the posts above, and become less irritated by your insistance on your proclaimed anonymity and the persistance of your argument. I am not less irritated, as I was not satisfied with the version of the article, as it stood out after your edits.
However, I believe the article can grow to become even better, and represent different interpretations better, even though I still believe the "Stirner as Hegelian" standpoint deserves a thorough mentioning (it has now gotten its own section, which I find is reasonable, as well as halfway meeting your primary critique, that it became muddled up in Stirner's own argument. With the use of some wordings from David Westling (hope this is okay with you, David), I elaborated and explicitly referenced the hegelian school to Löwith and Stepelevich, with examples.
Generally, I believe this text should not just reflect a matter of philosophical or political argument, it should reflect the life of the man, and the things that've since been written about him. As it is, there's a strong academic tradition for interpreting Stirner as a Hegelian. Naturally this should be reflected in the article. Beware that your anti-hegelian POV not un-balances the article from the major points which it tries to clarify. I agree the origins of certain points should be made more clear, and not taken for granted.
As a historian, I tend to see Stirner as an achievement in a long line of thinking, in which Hegel has a vital role, but which is ultimately indeed deeply rooted in christianity, and could not have taken place without Christianity. So yes, you could say that Stirner could not have done his work without Christ, as well as Hegel. There is nothing particularly ridiculous in that point. Christ is, as Stirner himself mentions, one of the greatest egoists, proclaiming his own world and his own church, even his own calendar, to the disrespect of jewish authority.
As a general objective for the article, I think people unfamiliar with Stirner or philosophy in general should be able to look this article up and get a meaningful introduction, from which they may research further information. They shouldn't get caught right into a highbrowed philosophical debate, where one POV disputes the other POV. That is certainly not my idea of NPOV. Thats my only one concern.
PS. Adam Smith was a 18th century thinker, btw, and not contemporary with Hegel or Stirner. I do think it would be `very interesting to see an account of Stirner's relation with Adam Smith, but as far as I know, there is none?
--Morten 4 July 2005 00:05 (UTC)

To say that Stirner was influenced by Hegel cannot possible be wrong - it is a strong understatement. To the anonymous user who objected so strongly to this obvious fact, let me inform you, that to be "influenced by" does not mean "to agree with" - quite the contrary, you are also influenced by someone if you base your writing upon a mission to rebut his thoughts. NOT ONE continental philosopher contemporary with or after Hegel was not influenced by him. It was absolutely impossible unless you lived in a cave to not be influenced by Hegel when you lived in Germany at that time, since he was the "State Philosopher"... and Max Stirner studied under Hegel so of course he is influenced by him.

So much for historical facts. Speaking about reading (and understanding) the two philosophers: it is clear that Stirner is philosophically influenced by Hegel. His work 'Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum' is one long rebuttal and ridiculing of the hegelians, but his work is also very very hegelian itself. This does not mean that he agrees with Hegel or that his philosphy shares Hegel's world view - on the CONTRARY: Stirner style of writing, his choice of words such as oppositions (the 'I' is both nothing and everything at the same time) is clearly meant as references to Hegel, but what Stirner is describing is the opposite of Hegels "absolute". Stirner's 'I' has all the characteristics of Hegels "absolute Geist" in some form (it is unmentionable, ever-changing, all-containing, self-based) - the big difference is, that the I is concrete, and real.

Stirner even paraphrases Hegel several places - not as in quoting because he agrees with him - but paraphrases his style of writing but used in a different context. Clearly he is influenced by Hegel - who wasnt? - but not just that, as an "anti-hegelian", Stirner was a very stringent interpretor of Hegel. He embraced Hegel, chewed him up, swallowed him, and turned him into his own property: Verdaue die Hostie und Du bist sie los!

-VHS

Anonymous speaketh thusly: June, 2006

Moreten, your extreme ignorance is given away by your final comment, questioning if there is any connection between Stirner and Adam Smith: Stirner's final publication was a complete translation of Adam Smith's _Wealth of Nations_ into German. This was a major labor that occupied several years. Stirner certainly read Smith (as did Marx, Engels, etc.) and was certainly influenced by him; to know this only requires READING.

This article now includes references to Stirner as a member of a "faction" of so-called Young Hegelians. This is a fiction, and badly mis-represents both who/what "die Freien" were, and makes a misleading anachronism out of the term "Young Hegelian". There was no such "faction", and Stirner did not identify himself as a Hegelian, nor did he join any political faction in his entire life!

Your claim to being concerned to show the historical facts of Stirner's life and work in the article is badly undermined by these two observations alone.

As my namelessness annoys you, I shall break my anonymity as follows: www.pali.pratyeka.org

I am a scholar of ancient asian languages, and am also extremely well read in 19th century philosophy.

I will not get involved in this parlour game of pretending that every continental philosopher "must have been" influenced by Hegel; it would be much easier to assign such a central role to Sir Issac Newton or Charles Darwin than to Hegel. As with any philosopher since Anaxagoras, it is not sufficient to show that other authors lived after, and therefore hoe'd the same row; rather, one must demonstrate some affinity or agreement between their works. It is a significant step to claim that "notwithstanding the fact that Stirner repudiates Hegel, and ridicules him constantly..." we should never-the-less describe Stirner as a member of a "faction" of "Hegelians"! This is absurd, and beneath contempt for an encyclopedia article or responsible scholarship in general. My contention has never been that Stirner was ignorant of Hegel's work but, as stated repeatedly, that the significance of H. for S. has been grosssly exaggerated --especially by those who simply are not familiar with the rich and varied textual sources that Stirner *did* work from and *did* agree with.

Streamlined the 'influences' section

I have streamlined some parts of the influences section and removed the unconfirmed reference to Kierkegaard (as I reconsidered the relevance of this speculative connection - which is my own speculation). I also moved some of the information in influences to the pages of Duchamp and Frank Brand respectively. I consider these changes uncontroversial. BTW, there seems to have been some reasonably ok changes lost from the recent revert. I have added a few of them, and will try and implement a few more of them again when I find the time. --Morten 13:05, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

DEAD LINK removed : *[http://kropot.free.fr/Stirner-Nietzsche.htm Stirner and Nietzsche], thesis (of 1904) examining Nietzsche's relation to Stirner (In French). (Would be nice to have a good link to the text)
Reference to : "Stirner's Critics", a clarifying reply to his critics, - already mentioned in the text. No need to put everything in the first paragraph. --Morten 22:50, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

I find the arguments put forth by 'anonymous' to be as obnoxious as they are erroneous. The fact that he keeps telling people they don't 'understand' the text is laughably ironic, as it is him who clearly does not understand the text or its context. The description of Stirner embracing, chewing up, swallowing and making Hegel his own is an apt metaphor. I don't know why 'anonymous' is so obsessed with pushing Hegel out of the picture. Without understanding where Feurerbach and Hegel were coming from, how could one possibly understand where Stirner was coming from? 'Anonymous' doesn't. And that's ok, but inflicting his ignorance on other readers of wikipedia is not. His concerns are accessibly on the discussion page, and need not influence edits on the main entry. When a single person whines for an edit and everyone else interested in the topic disagrees, its time for that person to realize that his opinions should not influence the main entry.

Racism/anti-semitism in Stirner's work

I'd like someone to address this. Some of the remarks in The Ego and its Own could be construed as terribly racist--particullarly the sections in which he talks about the 'primitive' Jew. Could someone who knows about this address it? I'm not sure what exactly to think of it. I can see how it could very well be racist, and also how it might just be a poor job of translating a more complex thought.

I'm not recalling exactly where this passage occurs, but Stirner is presumably referring to the problems associated with Old Testament foundation in Law and vengeance as opposed to anti-semitism considered from a racial standpoint. There is nothing, for example, in the book to associate Stirner with a positive view of miscegenation. Stirner's argument with the Jews was construed firmly on a conceptual basis, it seems to me. There are other, more problematic passages in Ego, however. He maintains, for example, that human history is something "whose shaping properly belongs altogether to the Caucasian race" (p. 62, Cambridge Univ. Press edition 1995). It's hard to imagine how this straightforward wording could have been substantively mistranslated. In 1845, it was undoubtedly easier to invest in such a sentiment than it is now, but in Stirner's defense, I would say that his conception refers to the driving force of civilization up to that time, which must have looked almost exclusively European. Stirner's tripartite division of history into the three stages (Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasian) reflects and undergirds this idea. It's hard to deny that individualism had little currency in non-Caucasian races generally from a historical point of view. Asian and African cultures are quite collectivist by European standards to this day. See my article "Individualism in the mid-nineteenth century" in the Nonserviam pages online for an expansion on this topic. The bottom line, it seems to me as pertains to this facet of Stirner's thought, is that Stirner was convinced that it was among the Europeans that personal autonomy first gained a foothold in culture, and that they are the historical agents most responsible for its development and spread. I don't believe Stirner would have maintained that this idea of the primacy of personal autonomy was ungraspable or otherwise unacceptable to members of other races. But, the argument would have to run, insofar as one finds oneself imbued with unalloyed collectivist ideologies, as is far more dificult to escape in non-European cultures, one would undoubtedly be saddled with a greater burden to overcome than those whose cultural heritage was less unfriendly to individual autonomy.--David Westling 18 Nov 05

thanks..

[Not-so-]Anonymous joins the conversation::

The majority of "racist" remarks in Stirner are in fact about the Chinese, and are uniformly motivated by Stirner's limited understanding of (the then Confucian) Chinese society as extremely ordered, hierarchical, partriarchical, and inimical to personal individuality. He makes many remarks *against* bigotry and racism, as part of his constant screed against nationalism of any kind; his actual remarks about the division between Jews and Gentiles in 19th century Germany are quite interesting, and do not reflect "simple bigotry" at all. Specifically, his doctrine for overcoming racism is that each side must realize that the categories of race (as per nation, etc.) are fictional, and only the individual is actual; thus, with the main example being anti-semitism, he deems that the problem is not that Jews and Germans regard one-another as alien, but they do not realize that they are completely alien from one-another as individuals, and that all other "divisions" and "aggregations" into larger units are false --and tend to violence and mutual mis-apprehension.

This "wisdom" on my part simply reflects that I have read the text; so far as I can tell, nobody else here has done so. I can easily supply all of the salient quotations if I bring my edition to the internet cafe next time.

Okay, here's the new section (in its unexpurgated form) added to address the issue. I did not try to offer my own "POV", but rather (1) to provide an overview with all due concision, and (2) to counter the treatment offered by Leopold in his introduction, which, sadly, is probably the most influential source on the subject!

The Question of Racism in Stirner's Oeuvre.

Opinions among scholars have been strongly divided as to how the terms "racism" and "racialism" apply to Stirner's oeuvre. Those who reject the accusation that Stirner was a racist can point to Stirner's protacted (and consistent) opposition to bigotry and nationalism of any kind, and his many passages attacking the racism of Germans as narrow-minded "tribalism" and "Teutonomania". However, for many modern readers, Stirner's use of the (now odious) 19th century racial categories "Mongoloid" and "Negro" constitute powerful prima facie evidence, and may cause them to ignore his direct arguments against racist nationalism.

Stirner's central argument (or "method") on the question of racial identity hinges on his assertion that ethnicity is an illusory and invidious notion (variously exploited by nationalism, liberalism, and the Church in his contemporary Germany) and that can be broken by the uniqeness (and "nothingness") of the ego. With the latter breaking of the illusion a free intercourse between people of different ethnicities is supposed to ensue; this seems to work from a cosmopolitan or "multi-cultural" assumption wherein each distinct ethnicity or religion should "assert [its] distinctness or peculiarity: you need not give way or renounce yourself [viz., your ethnic identity]" (p. 185). This is a striking contrast to the widespread presumption of the time that ethnic minorities in Europe were obliged to assimilate or else depart. Stirner excoriates the presumption that ethnic divisions can be "dissolved" by the forced imposition of a nationalistic identity, and similarly rejects the liberal claims that the issue will disappear if only state power would provide "equal rights" to all:

The "equality of right" is a phantom ... people dream of "all citizens of the state having to stand side by side, with equal rights". As citizens of the state they are certainly all equal for the state. But it will divide them, and advance them or put them in the rear, according to its special ends, if on no other account... People conceive of the significance of the opposition [between ethnicities] too formally and weakly when they want only to 'dissolve' it in order to make room for a third thing that shall 'unite'. The opposition deserves rather to be sharpened. [...] Our weakness consists not in this, that we are in opposition to others, but in this, that we are not completely so; that we are not entirely severed from them, that we still seek a "Communion", a "Bond", that in communion we have an ideal. One faith, one god, one idea, one hat, for all! If all were brought under one hat, certainly no one would need to take off his hat for another anymore.

The last and most decided opposition, that of unique against unique, is fundamentally beyond what is called opposition, but without having sunk back into "unity" and unison. As unique you no longer have anything in common with the other, and therefore nothing divisive or hostile either; you are not seeking to be in the right before a third party [viz., god, the state, etc.], and are standing with [others] neither on "the basis of right" nor on any other common ground. The opposition vanishes in complete severance or singleness. This might be regarded as the new point in common, or as a new parity, but here the parity consists precisely in the disparity, an eqality of disparity, and [even] that [distinction arises] only for him who poses the two in "comparison". [p. 184-186]

Unfortunately, David Leopold has badly misinterpreted one of the most inflammatory passages (dealing with race) in his introduction to the Cambridge edition (op. cit. supra). The passage appears as a non-sequitor ("episodically", in Leopold's terms) from pg. 62-65, and certainly does employ offensive racial terms, but, significantly, these terms are employed to ridicule the (then mainstream) European conceptions of their own history and ethnic heritage.

The passage in question begins [p. 62-3] by claiming that the period Western scholars commonly refer to as "European antiquity" (viz., classical Greece and Rome) should instead be termed "the Negroid age", viz., the period in which "Egypt and... northern Afica in general" are culturally predominant over Europe. Leopold's assessment seems to ignore the fact that this passage is not intended to insult black people, but is rather a pointed attempt to upset the (historically false, but still prevalent) European assumptions that paint modern racial prejudices onto ancient history, e.g., claiming that the Athenians, or even the Egyptians, were in some sense "Europeans" or ethnically "Caucasian", whereas the Hittites, and adjacent peoples of Asia Minor, etc., are presumed to be "non-white" enemies in this apocryphal racialization of bronze age history. Against this miasma of racial prejudices, Stirner brashly asserts that these ancient peoples were all "Negro", including the (much mythified) Athenian Greeks and Romans. He briefly expands on this to say that all of classical "Euroepan" philosophy is in fact African in character, a clear attempt to lampoon the historicist racialism of authors such as Hegel. His next assertion is that currently (viz., in the 19th century) Europeans are ethnically Mongoloid, not Caucasian: they follow a Mongolian religion, are worshipping a Mongolian god, and have the same social ideals as those of dynastic China. Thus, while European Christians imagine themselves to be superior to Asian idolators, Stirner asserts that Europeans have merely "wrestled for thousands of years with [the same] spiritual beings" as the Chinese, and still dream of going to "the Mongolian heaven, Tien", after they die. [p. 64] As with the first phase of the argument, it is clear that Stirner is not using these terms to insult Asians, but is throwing the established (Eurocentric) preconceptions of history back upon Europeans, and juding them to be (in their own racist terms) merely "Mongoloid" in their beliefs. [p. 63-5]

Although the passage is likely to be offensive to members of any religion (or almost any ethnicity) it is also noteworthy that Stirner here asserts that the dynastic empire of Confucian China is a more advanced civilization than that of Europe, but, from his perspective, this advancement is in precisely the wrong direction, viz., toward hierarchy, patriarchy, and the repression of the individual by obligation and law. For those who have studied Hegel's Philosophy of History, Stirner seems to have included a direct inversion of the Hegelian conception of freedom (based as it was upon a racist historical dialectic, and the glorification of law and obligation as the precondition of "freedom of the spirit"):

To want to win freedom for the spirit is Mongolism; freedom of the spirit is Mongolian freedom, freedom of feeling, moral freedom, and so forth.

Effectively, Stirner is here saying that what Germans imagine to be the "new" philosophy of freedom (according to Hegel, a philosophy exclusive to their race, and to their time) is really just a throwback to an ancient and repressive notion that was already prevalent in classical China (or "Mongoldom" as Stirner styles it).

Certainly, it is no accident that the passage in question is extremely offensive; most modern readers will likely feel insulted by it, or by the (now antiquated) terms it employs. Stirner clearly lacked any detailed understanding of classical Chinese civilization, and simply employs a limited sketch of its repressive, hierarchical elements as part of a reproach against European civilization in his own times. The primary purpose of the passage seems to be to upset the long-standing conceits of European pre-eminence, and it does not establish a racialist historiography of its own. What Leopold and other critics seem to have failed to understand is that what Stirner dubbs climbing "the ladder of culture, or civilization" [p. 64] is not a process that he seeks to glorify (as Hegel and so many others did), but rather to repudiate; thus, it is not inconsistent that Stirner identifies the culture of Confucian China with greater advancement and yet, at the same time, considers it abhorrent. In this passage "Civilization" is glossed as the subordination of the individual and the world to the rule of "the hierarchy of the spirit", viz., the inculcation of "habit, or second nature", and the proliferation of "principles" and "laws" on the basis of the enjoined obligations of man to "heaven". [p. 64] Thus, only at the conclusion of the passage does Stirner define what he means by the term "Mongolism", viz., "[the] utter absence of any rights of the sensuous, [it] represents non-sensuousness and unnature...". [p. 65] In some respects, this critique of civilization and culture (as such) seems to anticipate much later thinkers such as John Zerzan.

Is the use of the adjective "odious" to describe the categories of "Mongoloid" and "Negro" a result of the subjective personal opinion of the author of the above comment? Does everyone on earth, by conventional agreement, consider these categories to be hateful and disgusting? If so, is the category "Caucasian" also odious?Lestrade 19:37, 23 July 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Yes, the term Mongoloid is offensive, as you can learn even from the entry provided by the Wikipedia: it was part of a sustained theory by Europeans that "Mongolism" was a form of retardation that was innate and universal to people in Mongolia. The term "Caucasian" is also odious for good reason, and you may well check into the Wikipedia's own articles on the Curse of Ham or "The curse of canaan" as its also known; the pseudo-Biblical tripartite theory of the origin of the races is indeed "odious" and racist. Why don't you open a history book before contributing to a discussion of this kind, Lestrade?

Union of Egoists

Is there a reason why the social concept of "The Union of Egoists" presented in "The Ego and His Own" was not included in the article. Stirner's version of 'Voluntary Mutual Aid' is one of the factors that differentiates him from other thinkers like Nietzche. I'll wait for reasons before deciding whether to modify the article.

I for one didn't include the reference, as I find it is not of central importance in Stirner's work - although it is frequently brought up as an example of Stirner's version of 'egoism' being capable of social activity. Please feel free to include it at a proper place in the article, where you think it may belong - perhaps in the section of "power"`? - as an example of the 'voluntary union' that comes about when people join in with each other, in mutual interests? --Morten 20:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

I believe that Stirner precise in recensenten Stirner (called anticritique in french) that the Union of Egoist is an important part of his work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.123.101.179 (talk) 03:56, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

What's needed to make this a good article?

Just wanted to express my concern with the state of the article as it is now. I fear, from reading the text as it stands out now, that far too many authors are pushing their "own" agendas in the article, instead of trying to make the article stand clearly out, readily readable and understandable by anyone who cares to look up Stirner in Wikipedia. I hope present and future authors will comply to make the best possible article - rather than just inserting their own particular argument, name, influence or whatever somewhere randomly in the text. Some passages repeatedly gets totally muddled up because of this. When you edit this page as an author, please care to take responsibility for the complete text, not just "putting in your fingerprints" - it annoys the hell out of me, when people do this, and really is why I refrain from making a thorough effort at cleaning it up, over and over again. Sorry to say so, but it seems to me, that this article has "peaked", and it is now not getting better for each edit, but becoming way to muddled up for its own good, in narrow philosophical egotrips of some of its editors. There has been a lot of good additions since we first started building up the article, but now it just gets more confused and narrow in its scope, for every time I look it up. --Morten 18:39, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

When someone wants to present a POV, you'd want to present this as faithfully and objectively as possible, even though you may disagree yourself. But very often, on wikipedia, entries become flip-flop sentences that makes no sense when read in a full article. It takes a lot of structure to build new aspects into an article like this, and backing up of arguments. Not just inserting the trivial "but someone else means something different" addition, which conveys nothing new about the subject in a given section. --Morten 18:46, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Would someone (most appropriately, the contributors who wrote this) like to adress, what meaning the following paragraph contributes to the article :
This opinion by Professor Stepelevich is predictable insofar as he was an advocate of Max Stirner. However, his opinion is not shared by many theorists today, nor was it common in Stirner's day. Although Bruno Bauer was a close friend of Max Stirner and they supported each other personally, Bauer's writings built upon Hegel's themes of history and theology (specifically, the relation of Christian theology to Greco-Roman literature), and in all of his lifelong work Bruno Bauer did not cite Max Stirner as a source.
On the positive side, the linking philosophical concept between Hegel, Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner is the concept of Divine Self-consciousness as it pertains to the advancement of human Self-consciousness. This was the key theme of Bauer's writings. The key theme of Max Stirner's writings was the more narrow theme of human Self-consciousness and its rights.
What does Bauer citing Stirner has got to do with anything, concerning if Stirner completed Hegel's project or not? What does Stepelevich's opinion being common in Stirner's day have to do with anything? He's a modern theorist, for crying out loud, so of course his ideas wouldn't be common in the 1840'es! IMHO, this stuff doesn't do the article any good, and lets the article become obscured by strange philosophical jib-jab. If noone protests it, I will remove these paragraphs on the next time I review the article. --Morten 20:04, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I hear no loud objections, so I have removed the two paragraphs from the article, for the reasons stated above. --Morten 00:48, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Idealist/Materialist

Does anyone know if Stirner tended towards idealism or materialism? I am assuming (given his Hegelian associations) that he espoused a more idealist outlook, but the contemporaneous secular philosophies (Marx, Feuerbach) dismissed idealism in favor of materialism. ~2-21-05

This is not as easy a question to answer as it might appear. A quote by Stirner (from "Stirner's Critics") from Frederick M. Gordon's article "The Debate Between Feuerbach and Stirner: An Introduction" in the Philosophical Review number on the Young Hegelians (1976) sheds some light on the problem: "Feuerbach is, to be sure, not a materialist (Stirner never said he was, but described him only as a materialist who bears the properites of idealism); he is not a materialist, for while he imagines he is talking about actual men, he says nothing about them. He is also, however, not an idealist, for while he speaks without ceasing about the essence of man, an idea, he nonetheless imagines himself to be talking about 'the sensible human essence.'". Gordon himself continues with some pertinence: "It was this charge, that Feuerbach oscillated between a [sic] contradictory philosophies of materialism and idealism that made the greatest impression on Feuerbach's contemporaries, including Marx. The original title of The German Ideology was 'Feuerbach: Between Materialism and Idealism', a title which came, without much doubt, from the passage from Stirner quoted above." In the passage from Stirner quoted above, we are offered some tantalizing clues concering his opinions on the matter. He implies that he believes that one can characterize someone as having a materialist philosophy who can concoct a philosophy concerning "actual men" without contradiction. I would say that he placed himself in this category. The problem is that of the ego or "I", something that cannot be examined with the five senses. A materialist in the mold of Hume or Comte would, of course, regard the ego as an unwarranted assumption based on materialist grounds. This is empricism, which I find it simplifying to regard as the real basis for materialism. In this sense, Stirner is not a materialist. F. A. Lange, in his seminal work "The History of Materialism", confesses a puzzlement on this subject as well: ""What a pity that to this book [The Ego and Its Own]--the extremest that we know of anywhere--a second positive part was not added. It would have been easier than in the case of Schelling's philosophy; for out of the unlimited Ego I can again beget every kind of Idealism as _my_ will and _my_ idea...Stirner does not stand in so clear a relation to Materialism, nor has his book had so much influence, that we need linger with him." But Stirner was not in the mold of a Bishop Berkeley, who contended that it was only the mind which had actual existence. For Stirner, the outside world existed...only we cannot know it directly. I count Stirner as a certain type of materialist, one that bears only a tangential relationship to Empiricism and its progeny, analytical philosophy et cetera. Stirner would never contend that only what can be apprehended by the five senses can be said to exist, which implies a most complete rejection of subjectivism. On the other hand, mental events, considered as concepts, have a distincly subsidiary reality for him; he would undoubtedly have agreed with the basic materialist principle that all possible mental events can be traced to a physical cause. At the same time, his subjectivism is the most thoroughgoing imaginable; moreover, it is based in a radical Nominalism even Ockham wouldn't have dared to espouse. This is the new materialism, one that can light the way to a completely new way of experiencing reality.--David Westling Mar 10, 2006


Removed a few repetitions

I have removed a few things from the "bio" section, which simply repeated stuff which was also treated in the "influences" section. It appears the article is so long now, that editors don't really care to read the entire article...

I also removed the following entry, which might be preserved for someplace else.

In their book, The Holy Family (March 1845), they mocked Bauer and his entourage mercilessly, but did not even mention the name of Stirner.

It is really on Marx and Engels on Bauer, not on Stirner (so it could go to the page on Marx, Engels or Bauer, whatever is most appropriate). Otherwise I think the point is quite slim. What does Marx and Engels not quoting Stirner in a work about Bauer have to do with Stirner? --Morten 01:15, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

The probable reason for this omission in a polemic against not only Bauer but all Berlin Young Hegelians becomes quite clear when you study the timetable of Marx' (and Engels') quarrel with Stirner from Nov 1844 until the writing of "Saint Max" 1845/46 (all this published only posthumously). There are accounts of this in English by Frederick Gordon, Philip Breed DeMatteis... lastly by Ernie Thomson (2004), also in Paterson's Stirner book. --Nescio* 20:16, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Alright, I see. Probably just a little congenial, although I see the point. --MortenB 15:54, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Stirner's influence on Nietzsche 1

Since a user (or wiki officer ?) named Goethean has just deleted a passage dealing in a new way with the old question of a possible influence of Stirner on Nietzsche (based on new biographical facts)

18:51, 19 April 2006 Goethean (→Influence - - making invisible deceptive presentation of unsubstantiated claims.)

I should inform people with expertise on Stirner that, after he did the same on the Nietzsche article, I try to discuss this topic presently on the discussion page there. --Nescio* 20:29, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

I believe the article should at least present some kind of linkage between Stirner and Nietzsche (after the deletion of this passage, there is none). I also think the previous passage was a decent, mostly substantiated piece, which has arrived at this state after a LOT of revisions. I will try and edit the text back in, if noone objects further (or if noone does it before I get around to it). --Morten 11:11, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
It has recently been further substantiated that Nietzsche did read Stirner's book, yet even he did not mention Stirner anywhere in his work, his letters, his papers (see references below: "Nietzsche's initial crisis"). Nietzsche's thinking sometimes resembles Stirner's to such a degree that some authors (first was Eduard von Hartmann 1891) have called him a plagiarist. This seems too simple an explanation of what Nietzsche might have done with Stirner's ideas. Historical fact is that Stirner's book was banned to underground and oblivion for half a century, and only after Nietzsche had suddenly become a kind of philosophical popstar in the 1890s the cultured public was ready to let Stirner come to the open, now taking him at best as an awkward predecessor of Nietzsche. Thus Nietzsche - as formerly Marx by outlining the concept of historical materialism in 1845/46 - did not really plagiarize Stirner but, much more precarious, "superseded" him by creating an appealing and impressive philosophy.
I would not call this "a decent, substantiated piece which has arrived at this state after a LOT of revisions." I would call it over-reaching speculation by a writer with an axe to grind. It has not been substantiated the Nietzsche read Stirner. You assign an anti-Stirner motive to the "cultured public". You call Nietzsche a "kind of philosophical popstar". Further, you come up with an original theory about the relationship between Stirner and Nietzsche. I say: scrap it. — goethean 20:41, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, this is not a very deep interest of mine and I would be willing to rework most of that passage. I didn't write that passage myself, but has seen it being improved over several revisions. Either way, it seems very arrogant to me to delete the complete passage without even a note on this talk page. It is a better approach to rewrite the passage, or leave it to others to rework it, if you do not have the time yourself. It is NOT very constructive to delete a complete passage without prior warning, especially so, as you don't seem to take the complete article and its structure and content into account. It isn't conduiteful.
As for substantiation of Nietszche reading Stirner; That point has been brought forward by Nietszches friend, the theologist and philosopher Franz Overbeck (d. 1906) in his memoirs on Nietszche - published in "Neue Rundschau", 17 (1906), vol.1. Overbeck went through the records of the university library of Basel, where Nietszche had taught (from 1869-1879). These records showed that N's favourite student Adolf Baumgarten on the 14th of July 1874 had borrowed Stirner's book, "on Nietzsche's warmest recommendations" - so Baumgarten later told Overbeck. Furthermore, Overbeck recalls that N came to visit Overbeck and his wife in the winter of 1878/1879, and had spoken of two peculiar writers he had taken an interest in, Klinger and Stirner.
This may very well be slim 'evidence' of the vaguest sorts, but as this is very much the case with most sources on Stirner, I'll take it. Personally, I believe this is the closest connection between the two of this kind, there is. They are two very different thinkers, as a French study has so firmly pointed out a few years back. What remains interesting, is that a revival in interest in Stirner conincides with N's popularity around the turn of the century, where a Danish translation (among others) appears, with a foreword by the N-inspired Danish cultural critic Georg Brandes. --Morten 23:54, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi Morten, I agree, that it was arrogant and not conduiteful what Goethean did here: in my opinion it was pure vandalism. At the Nietzsche page he did the same beforehand, deleting a passage with a similar content seven minutes (!) after it was added, obviously without checking the given source. Regrettably on the Nietzsche talk page he was only hesitatingly and mildly criticized by one or two fellow talkers for this behaviour, and in the end -- it's very instructive to read the discussion in detail -- the "consensus" of 6 or 7 people involved was that the article should remain purged from that whole passage.

After that no one did rework the passage in question here on the Stirner page within a month I thought it useful to "make it visible" again. So everybody is free to improve on it. --Nescio* 11:43, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Here's a couple of articles by Bernd A. Laska that make a pretty strong case for Stirner not just being an influence, but THE Postulate of Nietzsche. http://www.lsr-projekt.de/poly/eninnuce.html http://www.lsr-projekt.de/poly/ennietzsche.html. The parts that talk about Eduard Mushacke make an undeniable connection. Also Overbeck's wife has an interesting recollection as one of the articles will show.

New Sections added ... and about Leopold

Anonymous has added several new paragraphs and sections, June+July 2006, ... doubtless they will soon be perverted by a mix of hostile amendments. I hope that, at least, it will be noted that I have worked very closely from the source text, frequently citing the page that I am quoting or paraphrasing.

I would like to note that I have made comparative mention to Leopold¨s introduction with good reason, viz., that the vast majority of readers and students will find his opinions bound into the same volume with Stirner, as he wrote the introduction to the 1995 / 2000 Cambridge edition ... certainly the most used and most widely available text pertaining to Stirner in English.

Unfortunately, Leopold did an extremely sloppy and disingenuous job. Both his introduction and his end notes leave much to be desired. Well, the redress of such errors is one advantage of the internet. If my editors will allow it, so to speak.

E.M.

I can't believe the sorry state of this entry right now. The first time I read the wikipedia Stirner entry in 2003, it was a little short but at least it was readable. It was what got me into investigating Stirner further. If I had come across this entry, I would've been put off and probably never would've decided to read the book. Whoever did this, with the 'quotes from the text to back it up', should simply write an essay and post it somewhere. An encyclopedia entry is not supposed to be an essay about a text with quotes backing up the essay writer's essay. I'm not saying everything this person says about Stirner is wrong, he's obviously quite intelligent and does grasp at least the most important points of Stirners work, but not only does he fail to understand the importance of Hegel (without whom Stirner never would've developed Egoism at all), he doesn't understand the purpose of wikipedia, either.

And by the way, the Cambridge edition most certainly is NOT the most 'widely available text pertaining to Stirner in English'. The original english translation that is on Nonserviam is the most widely available text pertaining to Stirner in English.

In reply...

Well, I'm sorry if you don't like it but, as you said yourself, the article now covers "at least the most important points of Stirner's work". Although you may consider it too long it is certainly shorter than the articles that attempt to encapsulate the work of other philosophers on the Wiki (e.g., compare the article on Kant), and I do think that it is legitimately within the scope of an encyclopedia (especially if it is an encyclopedia of philosophy) to summarize "the most important points" of an author's work.

The comment on the Cambridge edition is a bit absurd; obviously, the latter is a printed book that went into two editions --the number of its sales probably exceed the number of real readers to download a less authoritative translation from a website, and it is certainly a more influential "milestone" in the relatively short list of English language publications on the subject.

The article already has plenty of material adumbrating Stirner's relationship to Hegel (how could you possibly want more on this subject, given that you consider the article too long as it already is?).

The reason for certain sections being added (e.g., the section on racism) was in response to reader requests. You can see above on this very page that the question of Stirner's views on race has arisen among contributors to this page, and it is also raised by Leopold's introduction, etc. Questions of race and racism arise on many of the philosophy pages on this Wiki --and, sadly, they are rarely treated with much candour. Hegel and Kant both held blatantly racist views that deserve at least an authoritative "mention in passing", but it is very difficult to prevent such material from being "whitewashed" by other contributors. I can only wait in horror to see what will become of this section in Stirner's case; presumably, nothing so nuanced as my original contribution will last long in this forum.

Providing quotations from the source text has become an important part of contributing to this wiki for a simple reason: it is the only thing that causes other contributors to pause for thought before they destroy or re-write your contributions.

Seeing how much this article has been expanded, I will suggest moving the more elaborate parts on Stirner's philosophy to the page on Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (the page on Stirner's main work, which deserves some cleaning up and restructuring too, as well as could do with some additional content) or simply a new page on Philosophy of Max Stirner which will be able to discuss better some of these points (linked appropriately from the relevant sections on this page).
I find (in correspondence with the first comment) that I'd prefer this page to be a shorter presentation of key points, biography and influences - and put the more elaborate stuff on pages, which people may look into if they want. I cannot dedicate myself at the moment to do this myself - but if someone feels the capacity to try and structure this set of pages on Stirner, I'd welcome it. --MortenB 23:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
PS. I cannot stress enough how confusing these talk pages get, when you forget or refrain from signing your comments with signatures. It really makes it difficult to gather who made what comment etc. cluttering everything up. Please sign your comments! --MortenB 23:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • * *

Sir, I refuted your original claim which was that the Cambridge version is the "most widely available text", NOT your post-hoc claim that the number of sales and readers of the Cambridge edition exceeds the number of sales and readers of the original version downloadable and readable on the internet. And since the version on the net is freely available, sales of the Cambridge one would obviously exceed it, however almost all of those sales of the Cambridge edition are to other libraries, where most of the books will never be read by anyone. The internet version is DEFINATELY the most "widely available" version simply by nature of being available on the internet, regardless of how many people read or download it. I also think it is very unlikely the Cambridge edition has been read by more people than the internet version, because A) the internet version has existed for almost 100 years and has been read by individuals in several eras of Stirner-revivalism, and B) because of my aforementioned point that the Cambridge edition is mostly purchased by libraries where most copies will undoubtably remain unopened for years, if not decades.

Furthermore, I certainly did not ask for "more on Hegel", I asked for less on Hegel, which could only be achieved by deletion of your incessant harping on Hegel.

By the way, the fact that you think your spamming of "quotes to back it up" is a means by which you can assure you bully your way into not being re-written or deleted is a clear indication that you fail to grasp the most important social aspects of Stirner's work, and are in fact nothing more than a petty egotist, a mere shadow of an egoist. Personally, I don't think you've evolved to the point in which you'd need to to be able to understand Stirner, or at least benefit from understanding his work. You wouldn't be providing such fallacious arguments in defense of some of your statements if you were. You would do well to work on your grasp of informal logic before trying to digest any more Stirner...

I would also second the opinion that your additions would be better off in the article for the book, The Ego and Its/His Own, or preferably a new Philosophy of Stirner page. As a donation of content to Wikipedia, your text isn't exactly worthless, it's just mis-filed at the moment.

Morton: Sorry, I haven't really been active enough on wikipedia to get used to signing in with my account. If and when I start doing edits I will. I think talk pages should allow a higher level of anonymity than needed for editing actual entries, don't you?

Just a short note on anonymity : You're far more anonymous logging in with an account, for all your edits. While anyone can decipher an ip-adress, which is used in its place, you can be perfectly anonymous using a pseudonym of your choice. You gain the additional benefit, that it is far easier for other users to follow discussions, as well as see what edits were made by whom to an article. And please do edit the articles! Be bold in editing ! Its what Wikipedia was made for, and it can be a lot of fun, as well as likely improve the general content and quality of pages. --MortenB 02:05, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I would argue that the original translation is more widely available due to the Libertarian Book Club publication of this version in 1963 and the Rebel Press, London's republication of this version in 1993. The Rebel Press edition is substantially cheaper than the Cambridge university press edition, and so is the more popular edition to readers in my mind. I welcome the new additions, they're just misplaced. They should probably be included in Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, as a new section about the cambridge edition.--Itafroma 11:02, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Ridiculous Antihistorical Liberal Apologetics

This whole article is a ridiculous joke. ORIGINAL RESEARCH IS POINTLESS, and the original research here consists of the most mindless, smarmy fashionable undergraduate-style liberalist pseudo-intellectualism. Barely any secondary sources are cited. The nervous, defensive, panic-ridden section on racism is absolutely pathetic in its antihistorical projection of modern artificial politically-correct values onto the past (the same problem modern 'universalist democrats' have when they encounter Nietzsche and Lovecraft), and its attempted dishonest liberal whitewashing of Stirner's racialist views by means of false, brain-twisting super-dialectics is furthermore intolerable. The whole article should simply be trashed and redone from a blank slate.

I agree that the whole article is clogged up with pseudo-intellectualism, although the undergrad comment is unnecessary, as many self-taught intellectuals will find that offensive (are all undergrads unintellectual?), especially as this is the Max Stirner talk page, the man who frowns on being bound to any academic institution, and who wrote only bad words about universities and university students. The page needs to be redone, but not from a 'blank slate'.Unfortunatly I will have to revert it to a more clear, unmangled, previous form. Unless any other users are willing to help me make it acceptable.Itafroma 17:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Recent expansions (much maligned)

Well, I absolutely should have expected to be reproached as an "Egoist" for contributing to these pages --but the other insults thrown about here are so absurd that they can hardly tug at my heartstrings. I especially appreciate the following, resounding conclusion:

"As a donation of content to Wikipedia, your text isn't exactly worthless, it's just mis-filed at the moment."

I couldn't agree more. I also do not particularly disagree with the (over-the-top) objections to the section on racism: however, these accusations lose sight of the fact that the value of such a contribution is to be measured precisely relative to what had been written on the subject before (viz., nothing in this forum, or in many sources, as in the case of Leopold's introduction, utter crap). If the author of the complaint on this issue would like to add a searing indictment of Stirner's "racialism" (as he sees it) I would be delighted to read such a thing. However, throwing around ad hominem indictments neither demonstrates that the person raising the objection is conversant with the source text, nor his/her P.O.V. is more objectively worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia entry.

I rather agree with his/her complaint (e.g.) that the current text is full of "Undergraduate" circumambulations of the issue --but that is precisely the tone with which such issues are treated in modern encyclopedias of philosophy. Admittedly, there is a less rarefied tone taken in anarchist web-blogs --but the Wikipedia is supposed to be something other than that.

If you bold-hearted bureaucrats of the open source encyclopedia will proceed to cut up the text and re-distibute it to various sub-pages, I can only applaud. However, this will be my final contribution to this or any other page of the Wikipedia.

I will not ever again make any attempt to improve or revise this or any other page.

"Anonymous" the non-anonymous.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 202.62.101.65 (talkcontribs) .


Don't give up. Some Wikipedia editors are ignorant and stubborn. They must be opposed, not appeased.Lestrade 17:38, 29 August 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

No, I've given up.
I notice that in the latest revisions carried out by these fools, any mention of racism/racialism has been purged from the text. And why? Because there is no "consensus view" among the self-appointed editors, and therefore even an NPOV statement that Stirner is (1) often accused of racism, but (2) the source text clearly repudiates racism (and actually contains protracted anti-racist arguments), cannot appear.
This interesting aspect of Stirner's work (and the mis-labelling of his work) was treated in the (English) edition of _The Ego..._ that was part of the "Roots of the Right" series that came out shortly after WWII --and, significantly, the introductory essay concluded that it was grossly inaccurate to categorize Stirner as "Right" or even as part of "the roots of the right" --except that Mussolini made some stray mentions of Stirner in newspaper columns (this is another curious factoid that has been purged from the Wiki, BTW; but yes, the Italian dictator Mussolini mentioned Stirner's work several times in writing).
The same thing has happened on various other pages. The format of the Wikipedia makes any kind of material like this inadmissable. Other wiki-pages for philosophers, who were clearly and overtly racist, are similarly "purged" of anything unflattering to the memory of the authors in question. Well, guess what, you kids on the wiki can fool yourselves, but Kant was a racist, and so was Hegel; but these authors, who have a bunch of rabid teenagers hawkishly re-writing their entries on a nearly daily bais, will never have an unflattering word in their entries.
These infantile minds simply proliferate the historically inaccurate simplifications and glorifications offered in introductory university courses, and do not reflect historical research nor a keen knowledge of the primary source text.
I have entirely given up on making any positive contribution to the wholly negative phenomenon of this miserable forum. I can only sit back and watch the disintegration of the last contribution that I attempted to make. It seems to have been wasted on the editorship.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 202.62.101.65 (talkcontribs) .

Too Messy

This page is way too messy.

    • Nothing is cited.
    • Too much is opinion.
    • And users with something valuable to add write too much.

Take this into account when editing please.Itafroma 16:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed! Please help return it to the state of a better structured article :-)
One word of comment to the creation of a The Creative Nothing-page... I personally would agree this is a very important idea of Stirner's, but it is also one which is highly speculative, especially so, as Stirner only used this expression once, in one of the concluding sentences of his book; in which 'the owner returns to the creative nothing, of which he is born'.
Therefore, it is not without problems to introduce a whole new article on this concept alone, as this is an encyclopedia, and in my book this very much constitutes 'original research'. Better keep it in the article, and tighten things up, where need be. My 2 cents. --MortenB 15:38, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree and have deleted the new article, which i created originally to try and make the Stirner article a bit shorter. The concept is certainly speculative, and difficult to fully interpret without including some opinion. Stirner's Critics certainly sheds some light on it. Thanks for your 2 cents, much needed at the moment on ths page.Itafroma 16:52, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Did you paste the text someplace else? I still believe this concept deserves mention, I just commented on warranting it a page of its own :-) --MortenB 00:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Most of it is now in 'The Self' section.Itafroma 17:15, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Hegel's Influence?

i'm not a user, just a reader...please forgive my lack of proper formatting and whatnot...i simply have this to say to the assembled:

is not the purpose of an encyclopedia to archive and present information, not opinion, not point of view, but information (as opposed to knowledge which is often dimensioned with opinion)? if so, why then -- on so many talk pages -- do the personalities of you users/writers/archivists take precedence over the 'facts?

i'm no historian or philosopher, but stirner speaks to me in a direct and clarified way other thinkers don't...when i read the article here, or similar work in hard-copy encyclopedia, i really want to see the facts of his life, and an explanation of his thought

these little wars between this wiki-user and that, and the constant revision of an entry that -- it seems to me -- ought to be cut and dry as to presentation (i'm not interested in what YOU the writer of the article think, only in the information about the man and his work) makes the wiki-experience a little hard to take sometimes

rather than acting as reporters, offering fair presentation and objectivity, often I find in my meanderings -- in this article and many others -- you all engaged in turf wars

example: if hegel influenced stirner, shouldn't this be confirmed, cited, and included? and if not, then the damn discussion/fight dropped? for debate to go on and on seems pointless...the point of contention is not a secret of the universe, after all

i understand passion and investment...i don't get grandstanding and self-aggrandizement --henry quirk (signal_to_noise@hotmail.com)

well put.Itafroma 15:49, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia has been growing a lot since we started building this article. I agree we need to cite sources - please help out! But when we first started to build this page from nothing, it was not the first thing that came to mind - it was getting an article in the first place !
The problem with "facts" in the case of Stirner's life is that so little is known or verified about his life. We have one biography with as scarce information as you can get, written by John Henry Mackay, collecting the pieces of information left about the turn of the 20th century, almost 50 years after Stirner died. This leaves ample room for discussion - and the most obscure sources are sought after and grasped with gratitude, even though historically it's all not very solid (see the Nietszche debate somewhere above).
The problem with facts concerning Stirner's thinking are almost similar, although we do have his own texts to refer to - and an academic body of texts has clearly begun to be built up. But Stirner's writing leaves much room for interpretation. I read him quite clearly too and have tried to convey this in the article (although much has been totally muddled up since then) - I guess the next man's reading is not quite the same as mine. --MortenB 15:49, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
PS. Just to add, that while this article is quite messed up, I am very happy to see the revival of interest in the subject of the page - which is probably why the article has become so unstructured. I often tend to think of the most messy articles of Wikipedia as the most liveliest - because it's where people share ideas and get more knowledgeable on things they didn't know and didn't know they needed to know - even while presentation sucks ;-) --MortenB 16:11, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
(((again: forgive my lack of formatting...i'm merely a reader, not a user or archiver.)))
(((citation is important, but in certain cases (like stirner's) it's less so. why? because stirner's work makes the man 'of interest', and -- in a very real way -- is all anyone really needs to know of him. as morten points out below, the facts of stirner's life are sketchy at best, so the way the piece is currently structured (given over to mostly an overview of his thought) works, i think. i believe even stirner would agree.)))
(((frankly: i don't see any room for interpretation in 'the ego and its own'. stirner -- if one takes into account the culture he was immersed in, the difficulties of translation, and the man's hyperbolic style -- is clear as glass. he says exactly what he means to. there's no ambiguity to the work. which makes it all the more amazing when i find socialists claiming him as one of their own...all because of a wild, self-serving, misinterpretation of 'the union of egoists'. slightly more understandable are those who try to adapt stirner's ideas, assimilate them into some other philosophy. of course, the assimilation fails. 'the ego and its own' is exactly like stirner's unique one: irreducible and indescribable. to play at dissecting the work, pulling at its pieces and parts, is akin to pulling at a cadaver and expecting somehow to find the soul.)))
(((i'm glad the article has a bit of flux to it...life is not a staid exercise in stasis...that stirner and his work still move folks is a good thing...even if they move in all the wrong directions. h.quirk (signal_to_noise@hotmail.com) )))
(((morten wrote: 'Stirner would not be able to reach his conclusion without Hegel.' i disagree...certainly the structure of the book owes enormously to hegel and his work, but the structure is 'not' the idea...the structure is just a framework over which stirner stretched his book, a model for communicating to others what -- at the time (and apparently also today) -- is a difficult reality. stirner could have written his book in any number of ways but choose one most appropriate for the time, the culture, and for his anticipated critics. i believe stirner would have to come to his conclusions as an act of necessity and sanity.)))
(((forgive my ungainly intrusions...no offense intended. h.quirk)))
Just to comment on that last one of your comments :-) Language and communication itself is about what can be said to others, which they will understand in relation to some common body of reference, in arguments, texts, cultural meanings etc. In that sense, we cannot communicate ideas without referring to "known" things.
Stirner was writing on basis of Hegel, much as any man is dependant on what has been thought and written before him in history. If one sees the history of philosophy as a long series of arguments, which is inspired and argues with it's own history along the way (as Stirner just as much as anyone does), then what has been thought previously has the capability to open or close certain paths of thinking, or to allow pursuit of different lines of arguments.
Hegel opened a certain path - Stirner followed it to its conclusion, demolishing it along the way. He couldn't have done this without Hegel. --MortenB 00:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Just to comment on that last one of your comments :-) Language and communication itself is about what can be said to others, which they will understand in relation to some common body of reference, in arguments, texts, cultural meanings etc. In that sense, we cannot communicate ideas without referring to "known" things.
(((agreed: but didn't stirner himself advance a new definition, a new understanding? something standing outside of the common body? isn't this the way it always happens? if not, then knowledge would stagnate as it fed off itself, consumed in ever-tightening circles of self-reference...always, it is the one who moves back to the root and then out again who finds the new thing, the new idea, or the new way for looking at something old)))
Stirner was writing on basis of Hegel, much as any man is dependant on what has been thought and written before him in history. If one sees the history of philosophy as a long series of arguments, which is inspired and argues with it's own history along the way (as Stirner just as much as anyone does), then what has been thought previously has the capability to open or close certain paths of thinking, or to allow pursuit of different lines of arguments.
(((agreed: i think, however, you ignore the possibility of the mutant, the new thing, the revelation with one foot in the old, informed by the old, but so distinct from the old as to be unrelated in any way...for the most part, yes, things are an incremental adding on, adding to, and refining...but, sometimes, rarely, the novel comes to be and reason is hard-pressed to trace the lineage)))
Hegel opened a certain path - Stirner followed it to its conclusion, demolishing it along the way. He couldn't have done this without Hegel. --MortenB 00:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
(((again: stirner's idea, while shaped by the line of argument, stands apart from it...only the structure of the book owes to (and stands in reaction to) hegel...if hegel had never existed, if stirner had never met the man (or read the man), i believe he (or someone very much of the same mind) would have written something equally 'real' but with an entirely different framework...how do i know this?)))
(((i first encountered 'the ego and his own' as a young man...i labored through it, not because stirner introduced me to something new, but because he formally validated what had been working at me, in me, for years before...before i ever heard of anarchism or egoism, i felt them moving around my head...stirner merely gave a name, a structure, to what i already intuited)))
(((hegel provided the blueprint (for the framework) but stirner's choices of presentation are not the idea itself)))
(((if still doubtful: sit down with pen and paper and write a summary of the book, of the idea in the book, leaving out details of culture and 'philosophy'...does this idea not stand true and alone? does it require the support of a history, or argument? no, it doesn't)))
(((i concede the possibility of what you say being true...i merely say it didn't 'have' to be this way...again: i believe stirner would have to come to his conclusions as an act of necessity and sanity h.quirk)))
Henry, you wrote : "i first encountered 'the ego and his own' as a young man...i labored through it, not because stirner introduced me to something new, but because he formally validated what had been working at me, in me, for years before...before i ever heard of anarchism or egoism, i felt them moving around my head...stirner merely gave a name, a structure, to what i already intuited"
I can follow you wholeheartedly in this. Stirner hit precisely the same chord in me, and it's part of what made reading his book such a wonderful, life-embracing exercise to me. There's an intuitive element there, which is played upon in much of Stirner's prose. Still I can see that others relate to the book at quite different levels, and the book doesn't seem to strike the same chords in everyone, so when we need to discuss it, we some other ground for it.
You're raising a key point with your last question. I do not believe we can just "leave out details of culture", philosophy or history. Ideas do not live alone - they are thought, formulated and spoken by men who live under historical circumstances. We are able to change our world and our lives. Any idea with a demand for my attention "on its own" is what Stirner calls a 'fixed idea'. I don't believe in such ideals. So in that sense, no, no ideas stand true and alone to me, not even Stirner's, how clearly thought they may be or seem. Ideas are always rooted in someone, living somewhere, thinking them for particular reasons, often wanting something. It's not that we "need" a rationale or argument for our own existance - but we're fundamentally historical beings. There's no "ought" in seeing human existance as historical, on the contrary. History is not, although this is the common misconception, something unchangeable and categorical, which others have written for us. The past doesn't exist anymore, it only lives, because we seek to reconstruct it. It is written all over and over again, in as many ways as there are people. It should never be allowed to become something which dictates our lives or direction. We are the masters of our histories, as well as our futures.
Henry, you wrote : "i believe stirner would have to come to his conclusions as an act of necessity and sanity". I disagree, and I have to disagree, as what you're doing is naturalizing his conclusions, making his thinking something which would have almost come by itself. Yet for quite a long time, thinking like Stirner's was heretical of the worst kind. It took quite a few bloody religious wars to establish that break with the Catholic Church, which gave way to modern thinking in this sense - and even a few hundred years of protestant monarchies too. Still today, what Stirner called egoism, is attributed with the worst of crimes and heresy by most people, I would believe. It matters what we do, what we think, and therefore we have to be particular, historical and conscious of what we do, what we think, and why we do and think in particular ways. I'm sure you won't disagree. What I'm protesting is what your statement embodies, in taking away what is particular to Stirner, and ascribing it some kind of "naturalness". Interestingly enough, Stirner too has to use similar language such as "be your natural selves again" etc. in order to try and come near his conclusions, but his conclusions clearly lie beyond language, beyond nature, all that which is pre-described. --MortenB 03:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
PS. Tidied up the thread a bit. It was getting awfully confusing to find out who said what!

(((having spent a few months attending to family matters -- and reading and re-reading much of what is under discussion here -- i amend myself: hegel's influence cannot be denied)))

(((without the antagonism of hegel's view, stirner would never have written 'the ego and its own'...would never have formalized (to the extent his ideas 'are' formalized) egoism)))

(((this is not to say, stirner -- perhaps in some other way, some other incarnation -- would not have contributed something equally startling (might-have-beens are, of course, useless, so i won't dwell on them...but neither will i concede them!)...but: certainly, the persona of max stirner and 'the ego and its own' owe much to hegel, if only for standing as someone and something to rail against --h.quirk signal_to_noise@hotmail.com)))

I removed neutrality warning

I have read books from Stirner and about Stirner. I don't see the justificatuon of the neutrality warning, hence I removed it. If you think it should be there, please post some arguments here.

Yens

EXISTENTIALISM AND STIRNER’S SELF

Max Stirner has a lot in common with the existentialists, what with them both being individualists. I believe, however, that the one concept required to be classified as an existentialist is that existence precedes essence.

I believe that the following quote proves Max Stirner can be fit into this category, along with the fact that, like nearly all existentialists, Stirner hated to be labelled; so I’m sure he would not be impressed with my argument.

“If God, if mankind, as you affirm, have substance enough in themselves to be all in all to themselves, then I feel that I shall still less lack that, and that I shall have no complaint to make of my "emptiness." I am not nothing in the sense of emptiness, but I am the creative nothing, the nothing out of which I myself as creator create everything.”

This creative nothing, this being your creation and your creator, is nothing more than ‘existence precedes essence’ dressed up in an alternative garment. This is why I think that it is important to stress this interesting comparison in the subsection of the article ‘2.3 The Self’. --Josh Passmore

The False Principle

According to http://www.marxists.org/glossary/periodicals/r/h.htm#rz, Marx became _editor_ of the Rheinische Zeitung in October 1842, 6 months after the publication of Stirner's False Principle article. This article notes Marx as editor at the time of publication, and refers to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Is this referencing accurate? Thank you. --FrenchieAlexandre

The Macmillan encyclopedia certainly said that, but with conflicting sources i don't know which one i would trust. I'll look for other references and state any on this page to try and clear it up.Itafroma 17:40, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps all that needs clarification is the difference between editing something and being editor of something. This would accomodate both interpretations. FrenchieAlexandre

Sentence/Grammar

"The denial of absolute truth is rooted in Stirner's the "nothingness" of the self Stirner presents a detached life ..."

What is this supposed to mean? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 68.179.160.67 (talk) 04:35, 5 May 2007 (UTC).


Pseudonym/move entry

His pseudonym of Max Stirner is far far more common than this name (which is Johann Kaspar Schmidt in full anyway). This article should go at Max Stirner with this one a redirect there, and his birth name given in the first paragraph of the article. I'd move it, but the stub at Max Stirner means I can't. I'll see if a friendly sysop will do it if there's no objections (and if there are objections, I will counter-object very strongly). --Camembert


Several major writeups

Several major additions and complete rewrites contributed to sections on Biography and Philosophy, with the aim to provide more accurate information as to the chronology of Stirners life, his sources of inspiration and an understanding of the line of the argument in his philosophy. Most references to Marx are moved to the Influences section, where they belong IMO, and made slightly more precise. Removed minor suggestions to the friendship 'working together' between Marx and Stirner, since there is no historical record to indicate any such relation, except for the facts now stated. --Morten Blaabjerg 18:57, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

To Whom is This "Interesting"?

"It is interesting to note that, according to some subsequent comparative philosphy based on Stirner's views, cartesian criticism also results in nihilism."

It isn't interesting unless it means something -- and if it does, that something requires explanation. All this seems to mean is that those influenced by Stirner think it is good to be influenced by Stirner, and call their exposition of that view by the bame "comparative philosophy" -- which is boring.

Hey, if it was up to me, I'd remove that comment entirely. But something tells me that Silverback would never give up trying to re-add it (or a more POV version of it). Oh, and by the way, Christofurio, please log in. ;) -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 12:52, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think I've removed the "interesting" phrasing, although it is interesting in a meaningful sense, because it is similar to mathmatics, when two different ways of solving a problem give the same result it gives more confidence in the result. Similarly in physics, when two different means to calculate a constant are within error bounds of each other and converge with time. Cartesian reductionism down to cognito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) was quickly accepted. Flaws were seen in his attempts to construct something back up from the nihilism that he had achieve. In fact, one can consider much of western philosophy since his time, as attempts overcome this nihilism that appeared logically unavoidable. So, it is interesting the hegelian criticism, despite its seeming uniqueness, was shown within the neoHegelian community to also result in nihilism, and Stirner's contemporaries felt it was convincing enough to require a response.--Silverback 18:06, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I certainly disagree with your assertions, but your latest edit to the article is very good (having finally established NPOV), so I believe we can declare this dispute officially closed. :) -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 15:25, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Sorry to re-open it once more... I have removed one of the two pieces on the "cartesian criticism", so there remains just one - as they were repeating the same point twice, in slightly different ways. This is the piece I took out :
Stirner took Hegelian criticism to what he claimed to be its logical conclusion, nihilism. This nihilism was an intellectual challenge to his colleagues in much the same way as cartesian criticism was in the other major branch of western philosophy
I would appreciate if you would care to elaborate on this point, Silverback, as it is still by no means clear what you mean by this. Perhaps even write a complete section on this point, with references. Could you provide an academic source or reference for the point you want to make? --Morten 00:46, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Biography

Is it accurate that Sterner's biography was, "published in German around the turn of the 19th century," given his birth in 1806?

I have changed this part. Mackay's biography was published in 1898, near the turn of the 20th century.--Davidwestling2
Sorry this was a typo of mine - it should have read "published around the turn of the 20th century" - it was a slip, but the present wording is far more precise (didn't remember the exact date). -- Morten 16:50, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It is highly probable that Stirner and Marx never meet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.123.101.179 (talk) 03:58, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Restructuring, making the text more correlative/homogenous

Restructured and rewrote a bit, added a few pieces here and there, to make the text more homogenous.

Section on "borders on the edge of language and reality" re-included, as I believe this is the vital aspect of Stirners philosophy, and why it feels so disturbing to a great number of people. The consequences for language, attribution of meaning and reality is elaborated more deeply further down in the 'philosophy' section, so I believe the sentence in itself does not need to explain what follows below. The reason why Stirners philosophy "borders on the edge of language and reality" is clearly that it disturbs the traditional attribution of meaning to human existance, heavily pioneering a modern media critique which centres precisely on language and reality. (added this under Influences)

Cleaned a bit up in the influences section, as some information was already discussed in the article. What 'other major branch of western philosophy'? Broadened the wording of the Cartesian thingy - one can read more in the cartesian entry, as long as there's a link to that discussion. I hope this is broad yet precise enough to hold the implications discussed above, if not, please elaborate.

I would like to see sources or influences named on the gender issue - who was influenced by Stirner, when, where and why? I moved the sentence on gender roles to the 'influences' section.

Morten Blaabjerg 02:40, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I also downplayed the 'nihilism' of the text, as I believe the 'nihilism' of Stirner is too constraining for his thinking to be contained by such a category. It doesn't fit very well to Stirner, who does not use this concept, nor use the concept of anarchy for that matter, (although I find this a more descriptive term, than an ideological one). One could easily argue Stirner to be a conservative, as he clearly opposes a revolution with the claim that a revolution only exchanges one 'spook' with another. He is none of it all, and everything of it, depending on the context he's read in. Clear are his hegelian roots and his radical demolition of religion, ideology and language.
I have tried as much as possible to use Stirners own phrases in the 'philosophy' section, and keep everything else in the 'influences' section.-- Morten Blaabjerg 03:18, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Nihilism is not very constraining. I don't think his lack of belief in movements for change make him a conservative, perhaps he would be better described as an "inactivist". In the United States libertarian movement, there is a term for lack of willingness to expend resources trying to change the world, it is called "Harry Browning it", and was inspired by Harry Browne's egoistic viewpoint expressed in his book "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World". He surprised later on with what many see as a reversal, by running for president as the Libertarian Party candidate.
While using some of Stirner's language adds some of his flavor to the article, his writing was hardly for the ecyclopedic/academic audience, in addition to translating it to English, I think it also helps to translate it from the Hegelian insider lingo, although perhaps, like all translation this also involves interpretation.--Silverback 04:22, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Interesting notes - 'Harry Browning it' might be an interesting addition to the influences section, as I long thought that the consequences of Stirners thought are often far radicalized. The book is anti-ideological, anti-isms more than anything else. -- Morten 16:50, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've never seen any evidence that Harry Browne was influenced by Stirner, just the possible similarity in their choice of individualism over ideology. Since Harry Browne's signature book was written in 1973, it is late enough to perhaps to have been influenced by a little bit of the Stirner revival. However, Browne seemed more interested in financial rather than philosophical matters. He certainly succeeded in raising the ire of the libertarian ideology true believers in Stirner'esque fashion.--Silverback 00:04, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I reworked some of the material towards the end of the Influences section, mostly just grammatical stuff. I did augment the section which refers to Baudrillard to put some distance between postmodernist/poststructrualist thinking and Stirner's viewpoint, which I find very important at this juncture in the history of ideas. --davidwestling2

Where was Stirner banned?

Quote from the article: His philosophy has been disturbing, sometimes even banned as a direct threat to civilization.

A lot of works have been "banned" in a lot of places, to the point that it's almost a meaningless thing to say. Anyone have a source for where Stirner's works might have been "banned", and in what form? Is this the Dogbreath County School District? Nazi Germany? The Third Federal Circuit Court of Appeals? The Free Separatist Nation of Staythehellout? The Index Prohibitorum? Soviet Russia? --FOo 04:35, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Hmmmm... perhaps banned is not the right word, as I haven't heard any mention of the book being the object of direct censorship (although in the cases you mention his ideas would have been quite uncomfortable to exist in print). I have elaborated a bit on this aspect on the page, but maybe you can add to that. What I originally meant by this, was the exclusion and omission of Stirners work from 'accepted academic or political discourse' if you will - so 'banned' in this regard as something you couldn't say out loud without being ridiculed and considered nonsensical. - This no doubt mostly stems from Marx's treatment of his work, which is extremely satirical of Stirner's ideas, and is probably why Stirner's name is like totally washed away from the history of philosophy, in most 'traditional' literature. --Morten 21:24, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Sure, I can see how Stirner's position has been marginalized. However, an awful lot of works have actually been banned in one sense or another. Sometimes this means that people are prohibited from selling them, or can suffer persecution from owning them -- for instance various samizdat works in the Soviet Union. In other cases it means that they are perfectly legal to own and sell, but excluded from libraries, for instance in U.S. public school districts. In other cases, works have been termed "banned" because groups have picketed bookstores that sell them, or booksellers have been prosecuted but found innocent -- for instance The Tin Drum.
Still, in my mind there's a big difference between "banned" in the sense of being socially marginalized and "banned" in the sense of being forbidden by law. The former has nothing particularly to do with a work's value (after all, many bad works are socially marginalized, for reason of their being not very good) but the latter frequently has a great deal to do with the work's value (because people in power are threatened by it). So I am very interested to know if Stirner's work has actually been banned anywhere, or if it has simply been disregarded. --FOo 05:22, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree with the marx theory above. With marxist zealots, Marx's mocking dismissal of Stirner was the gospel on the subject and there was no more need to read Stirner themselves than there was to think for themselves. That might require them to question the marxist "faith", and questioning was forbidden. Hmmm, perhaps a social ostracism similar to shunning (or is shouting down more likely?) is what brought "banning" to someone's mind.--Silverback 08:27, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Oh please! Stirner's work is available in German as a Reklam edition, and in English as a twice-recently-reprinted volume in the "Cambridge editions in the history of political philosophy". Considering that he only wrote one book he's hardly "marginalized"! In his own time, the book caused quite a sensation, and was very well known --"the talk of the town" in all the newspapers, etc. (more than one can say for any living philosopher). It has been through a few revivals of interest since then. Even in the USSR, Stirner did have a place in the library because of his historical connection to Engels, etc.; the accident of his knowing (and being "critiqued") by Marx and Engels very much ensured that his philosophy would not be forgotten. Aside from that, there's a long list of artists and anarchists who invoke his name every so often. Who can complain that Stirner is "forgotten" or "suppressed"? If you're not already very well read in 19th century politics and philosophy, there are many long passages of the book that are nearly incomprehensible; and its numerous literary allusions (etc.) further remove it from the grasp of "the common man". It is rather amazing that the book isn't completely obscure --and, moreover, that it has so many ardent admirers among "men of action" rather than mere academics and artists.

A lot of ignorant errors to be corrected

(1) Re: the question of Stirner being "Banned", it is a well known anecdote that the reason why the title page of the 1st edition is "post-dated" by 1 year is that he *anticipated* that it would be banned (i.e., and only gradually come to light a year following) but the censor actually did let it pass with the comment that it was "too absurd" to do any harm. This bit of odd humour is noted in the introduction to the current Cambridge edition.

(2) The following statement is completely absurd to anyone who HAS ACTUALLY READ BOTH HEGEL'S WORK AND STIRNER'S: [quote] Stirner attended university in Berlin, where he attended the lectures of Hegel, who was to become a vital source of inspiration for his thinking, and on the structure of whose work Phenomenology of Spirit (org. Phänomenologie des Geistes), he modelled his own book. [\quote]

There is absolutely *no* grounds to say Hegel was a "vital source of inspiration" to Stirner --Stirner absolutely ridicules Hegel throughout his book, and has nothing but contempt for Hegel's work (some of it being well-grounded criticism, but much of it just "poking fun"). Secondly, why don't you compare the table of contents of Hegel's _Phanomenolgie des Geistes_ to Stirner's _Der Einzige..._ --is there anything in common? No, nothing. The two books are as different as night and day --in form, in content, every way!

I believe the following should be added as Wiki policy: IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE PRIMARY SOURCES, PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRIES! The fact that one of your idiot professors vaguely suggested something doesn't mean its supported by the historical facts or the original texts. I have already tried to re-write the entry on Hegel to reflect the historical reality of Stirner's relations with his various contemporary philosophers --but someone insists on spreading these mythical notions from the bottom of the barrel of philosophy department gossip. Read the book, or else don't write the article! (--UNSIGNED ENTRY! WHO WROTE THE ABOVE?)

(In response to the above):

  1. Please sign statements with the 'signature' menu over the edit-box.
  2. Please don't insult other contributors - there's no reason to, and it's not a good starting point for any kind of discussion. If you think something is wrong in the article, you're free to rewrite it - with respect to other contributions. The goal is to get the best and most comprehensible NPOV article about Stirner as possible - in itself quite difficult, as I know personally from several rewrites of the article.
  3. I've personally read the book at least twice, in translation, and written several papers on Stirner and related subjects. The latest Danish translation of the work is very concise, and to the word of the original. The 'mythical notions' you're talking about (which I believe you're right about, in part) - try writing them into the article - that will make them more concrete. I would like to know more. If it's not in the article, it should be.
I am no philosopher, but a history man. Where I find Stirners thinking relates to Hegel is partly based on things I've read (especially the writings of Lawrence Stepelevich, which I find is quite interesting) - but to a great deal also with my personal experience of applying Stirner's philosophy as a philosophy of history. Yes, it is true, Stirner ridicules many (if not all) of his contemporaries - but what I find the more paradoxical (and impressive), is that while his work is critizising the thinking of Hegel, Feuerbach et.al. it is yet fundamentally rooted in this kind of thinking.
Stirner's 'creative nothing' arises from his repeated argument of tearing down every absolute concept in existance, discovering a languageless void (when nothing can be described in absolute terms, there's not only nothing - not even nothing exists there; Yngve Ahlberg (Sweden) has written a dissertation about this line Stirner's thinking - I personally haven't read all of it). This 'nothingness' creates room for the creativeness of existance - the individual self. This is why Stirner can create so much fun out of saying "he has based and rests his case on nothing" - he is actually basing everything on himself, who has come from nothing. What does this have to do with Hegel? - A lot IMO, as it is a line of dialectical thinking, which is modelled on Hegel's. Stirner would not be able to reach his conclusion without Hegel. That is why it is even more of a ridicule IMO, that he in part models the structure of his work and argument on Hegel's. Stirner clearly was inspired by Hegel, even though he reached radically different (IMO brilliant) conclusions. --Morten 19:34, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Put the phrase <quote>(Stirner clearly embraced both psychological egoism and ethical egoism)</quote> back in - I agree, it is not perfect, but no short introduction to Stirner will probably ever be. I think it is worth keeping this distinction, and I believe it pretty much sums up what Stirner is about, in the introducing paragraph.
Stirners egoism is psychological, in the way, that he believes all people naturally act in their own interest, even those 'possessed by spooks'. And it is ethical, in the way, that his point is that individuals will only be themselves, when they realize their burden of false ideals, and begin to act according to their egoism. I'd like to hear arguments for the contrary, if this phrase should be removed. --Morten 02:17, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Morten--your vitriol is misplaced. You cite Stepelevich, but ignore his basic ideas on both Stirner and Hegel. Please see his article, "Max Stirner as Hegelian", _Journal of the History of Ideas_, v.15, pp. 597-614 (1985), for a well-mounted discussion of the Stirner/Hegel relationship. We are speaking of dialectics here, Morten. Opposites are _related_ in such a schema. Yes, Stirner thoroughly repudiates Hegel, but at the same time, he employs some of the most important elements of Hegelian structure and many of Hegel's basic presuppositions to arrive at his own conclusions. Stepelevich quotes the prominent historian of philosophy Karl Lowith, who says that _Ego_ is "in reality an ultimate logical consequence of Hegel's historical system". As Stepelevich continues, "In Hegelian terms, the thought of Stirner is taken as a phenomenological exemplification of spirit's advance to ultimate self-knowledge." Stepelevich then tips his hat to those who have a hard time making any connection between these two radically different thinkers; he acknowleges that _Ego_ had an " evidently 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. Nevertheless, this does not mean that Hegel and Stirner are not related on the most intimate level. Stepelevich again: "The main juncture leading from Hegel to Stirner is found [in the _Phenomenology_--dw] at the termination of a phenomenological passage to absolute knowledge. Stirner's work is most clearly understood when it is taken to be the answer to the question, 'what role willl consciousness play after it has traversed the series of shapes known as 'untrue' knowledge and has attained to absolute knowledge?'" In other words, to go beyond Hegel in true dialectical fashion is to continue Hegel's project, and Stepelevich argues persuasively that this effort of Stirner's is, in fact a _completion_ of Hegel's overall project. Stepelevich concludes this important essay with an example from _Phenomenology of Spirit_ which seems to point directly to Stirner's _Ego_: "This last shape of Spirit--the spirit which at the same time gives its complete and true content the form of the Self and thereby realizes its Notion as remaining in its Notion in this realization--this is absolute knowing...the nature, moments, and movement of this knowing have, then, shown themselves to be such that this knowing is a pure _being-for-self_ of self-consciousness, it is 'I', that is _this_ and no other 'I', and which is no less immediately a _mediated_ ot superceded _universal 'I'. Stirner would reject this last part of Hegel's formulation, that there is an identity existing between the personal 'I' and some universal 'I', but it is clear that Stepelevich is on to something significant here. Stirner's work looks all the more profound and transformational when seen in the light of his close, albeit largely antagonistic, relationship to the master-philosopher George W.F. Hegel.--davidwestling2 April 24 2005 3:06pm CDT

Interesting discussion and interesting points, David. We should get some more of this into the article. I'm not really repudiating any of your above points, as I believe you're better read than myself on this topic. Whether Stirner's project is a completion or repudation of Hegel's project is beyond me, and perhaps also beyond Stirner, as mr. Anonymous claims. --Morten 1 July 2005 23:53 (UTC)

New note from anonymous:

This is a note from the fellow who put in the initial posting under this rubrick --no, I will not divest myself of my (limited) anonymity. Morton's absurd post states

quote: "...he is actually basing everything on himself, who has come from nothing. What does this have to do with Hegel? - A lot IMO, as it is a line of dialectical thinking, which is modelled on Hegel's. Stirner would not be able to reach his conclusion without Hegel." end quote

--In this statement, Morton has made two completely unsubstantiated claims here: (1) that when Stirner 'is basing everything on himself' it is 'a dialectical line of thinking'. Does the word "Dialectical" mean anything to you? You certainly aren't using a Hegelian definition of the term! Can you provide me with one instance of Stirner using Hegel's dialectical method in the entire corpus of his writing? Yes or no? There is no Hegelian dialectic when Stirner says "Man is not the measure of all things, but rather, *I am*"; nor is there there any dialectical proof/reasoning behind the claims "I am nothing, but I am creative nothing; a chaos...". Neither in method nor in structure (nor in its conclusions) do any of these tenets share any common features with Hegel! (2) The second unsupported claim is that Stirner "would not be able to reach this conclusion without Hegel". The latter assertion is so weak and absurd that one might as easily say that all philosophies in in disagreement with Hegel "would be impossible without Hegel". Certainly, from the standpoint of an encyclopedia article, it is absurd to include such a tendentious sort of claim as if it were an established fact --but in terms of Stirner's own description of the sources of his philosopy, one can no more credit Hegel than Jesus Christ as a "great inspiration". He thinks Christianity is a joke and a fraud, too --so should we list the Bible as one of his "sources of inspiration"? Stirner certainly quotes the Bible more often than Hegel --but in both cases it is only in order to ridicule the source in question. Any attempt to exaggerate the importance of Hegel's philosophy in relation to Stirner seems to founder on this simple point (you could as easily claim that Hegel was a great influence over Arthur Schopenhauer or Karl Popper --as both attacked Hegel at great length). Moreover, is it not rather obvious that (quantitatively) Stirner has fewer words about/against Hegel than even a figure like Feuerbach, or the half-dozen nearly forgotten figures of 19th century German Liberalism that he lambastes throughout the book? The assertion that Hegel (alone or above all others) is of some special significance in Stirner's critique rings very hollow --is it not rather the case that of the vast array of establishment figures that Stirner attacks, Hegel is simply the only one still read by University students today? Or is there some very profound, "structural" reason why all the other objects of Stirner's contempt and derision are passed over without comment in this encyclopedia article, but Hegel alone is exalted as so terribly important? One specific example: It is utterly risible that you try to pin "Ich habe mein sache auf nichts gestellt" on Hegel when the actual phrase is a quote from Goethe. What, will you now claim that Goethe is an Hegelian?

And in reply to Davidwestling...

This fellow Davidwestling has very carefully set out a false conclusion from a sound premise. I appreciate his (important) concession that _Der Einzige_ quote "had an 'evidently un-Hegelian structure...'" end quote --let me just halt on this point and remind all assembled that it was the structure of the work that I pointed out is *not Hegelian* in my original posting --and I said then (as now) that this should be evident even from looking at the table of contents. However, this absurd assertion that there is any common ground between the Stirner's philosophical analysis of thinking and the Hegelian "Spook" of "Absolute thinking" is completely false --and is easily refuted by quoting the primary source itself. Why don't you look up "Absolute thinking" in the Index of your Danish [Correction: Swedish] edition (if it has an index) and read Sitner's many statements that "Absolute thinking is nothing but thinking that has forgotten that merely 'I' am the thinker ..." etc. etc. Do you really imagine that you have grasped the outermost hem of Stirner's philosophy if you think his philosophy of the self is equivalent to Hegel's "Notion thinking itself ... absolute knowing ... pure being as such ... etc. etc."? Do you think Stirner refuted and dismissed all these abstract notions for no reason except to exercise his penmanship? Given that Stirner's own work contains a lengthy rejection of "Absolute knowledge" as the goal of philosophy or life, it is completely laughable for some academic to say:

quote: "Stirner's work is most clearly understood when it is taken to be the answer to the question, 'what role willl consciousness play after it has traversed the series of shapes known as 'untrue' knowledge and has attained to absolute knowledge?" end quote

Stirner attacks the dichotomies between true and untrue, absolute and relative knowledges at their most fundamental level, and sets up his own attitudes toward knowing on a basis completely alien to both the Platonic and the Hegelian traditions: do you recall the passage, "Truths exist in space in my head just as that stone exists in space on the street"? How about "Truths are my creatures, my creations, they arise from me and come to rest in me; I am not a creature haunted by the truth"... etc. etc.

Final note

I find it very touching to hear that you have read the book in question --and I am sorry if you were so offended at my request that you actually read the book before writing an encyclopedia article about it. Perhaps I should have instead requested that you "Understand" the book, and suggested that you "Report on its contents in a detached manner, instead of super-imposing a bunch of crazy nonsense that is completely spurious to it, and represents not Stirner, but the bored scribbles of Hegelian-trained academicians". Fundamentally, an encyclopedia exists to emphatically state what something is --not what it might be if interpreted by a spurious (an in this case opposed) philosophy. I could easily concot a paragraph raving about the common features of Stirner's philosophy with Nagarjuna --but this would be a super-imposition, that really has nothing to do with Stirner's philosophy as such. Likewise, DW's claim that "Hegel and Stirner are... related on the most intimate level" is simly a modern, Hegelian superimposition; it 'does not describe an "intimate relation" that actually exists in the tenets of Stirner's text, but only a really obscure (and, I would say, untenable) "relationship" posited by a modern reader. I, too, could posit any number of such "intimate relations" (e.g., Stirner as the follower of Sextus Empiricus --quite a bit more tenable than supposing Stirner shares Hegel's notions of the self as "Pure Spirit knowing itself"!) but they would be alien to the subject, and it would be completely false to assert them (in an encyclopedia!) as some kind of actually existing relationship to be found in the text --or in the biography of the author in question! --ANONYMOUS

(Morten's reply to the above)
I haven't read all of your argument above as I am short on time at the time of posting, but to the point of examples of to the dialectical thinking of Stirner's work, the whole work is obviously dialectical to me.
A nothingness (thesis - devoid of any absolute meaning, after Stirner's 'demolition') --> something (antithesis - description/language/creation) --> I / Ego (synthesis - who creates, describes, acquires property).
This is as far as my very sparse Hegelian reading (admittedly) goes. But as far as I am concerned this makes perfect sense. I'll recommend Ahlberg's work, if you want to read more on this perspective. I'll agree there are many others.
Finally, feel free to be anonymous (I wonder why you can't be with a login, if you so desire?), but make sure to not create confusion as to that you wrote and what others wrote, and sign your statements accordingly. --Morten 1 July 2005 23:53 (UTC)

[D.W.'s reply] To anonymous--

I would ask that you formulate your arguments a little more carefully. We are on some difficult ground here. I agree that Sitner does not stand on the ground of "absolute knowledge" as it is formulated by Hegel. When one considers Stepelevich's argument, I take it as axiomatic that one must translate old terminology into new in some important sense. To reach the standpoint of the 'I', an 'I' that is not limited by its _petty_ particularities, is what I think Stepelevich is arguing Hegel thought of as absolute knowledge; naturally one cannot use such a term in speaking of Sitner's orientation. "Absolute knowledge", according to such a reading, is merely Hegel's term for something that, in Sitner's world-view, becomes something quite different. (By the way, "Westling" is Scandinavian, it's true; but from this it does not follow that I have easy recourse to some Danish edition of Sitner's writings. That was some other guy. I have four editions of _Ego_/_Einzige_: Reclam 1892, Boni and Liveright, 1918, Dover Press, 1973, and the Cambridge 1995.) Sitner attended Hegel's lectures when at the University of Berlin; in any case Hegel was the one that had to be taken into account more than any other figure in any attempt to move beyond the death-oriented philosophy which he so assiduously perfected. Thus, it is inescapable that any philosopher worth his salt in this period would need to employ Hegel as a foundation for subsequent developments. One might peruse a book by a colleague of Sitner's, a certain Bruno Bauer, who wrote a diatribe entitled _Trumpet of he Last Judgement Against Hegel the Atheist and Antichrist_ which appeared three years before _Der Einzige_; this same idea is put forward there, that Hegel, _without realizing it_, had made the endpoint of his philosophy the finite ego, even though he couched his terminology in the depths of abstraction. The effort, then, in the period of the _Vormarz_, was to reveal the "true spirit" of Hegelianism to itself, to banish the obfuscation in Hegel's philosophy while retaining the real advances he had achieved. One must, after all, deal with the problem of the "crass" ego or the ego which doesn't understand how to engage in the overall Critique of world and experience. One cannot merely stay on the plane of sense perception; one must pass through various stages of consciousness to arrive at a state of mind which incorporates and synthesizes many forms of perceiving the world. This is Hegel's great contribution to philosophy. To extend this argument to the realm of the Bauerian Critique, for example, the ego in capitalism, imprisoned as it is within the confines of the Protestant Ethic, cannot find its own unique self underneath its Calvinistic quest for membership in the elect. It is doomed to remain a mere _type_, the type of _homo economicus_. One must interrogate the self all the way down to its deepest level, and here we have the basis for examination of unconscious motivations that became the "science" of psychoanalysis. Only after one passes through the Feuerbach is one truly Unique. To term this new state of being "absolute knowledge" would be misleading in the extreme but it arguably corresponds to the territory that was, however wrongheadedly, demarcated by Hegel.--davidwestling2 4/25/05 2:26 PM CDT

[Conversation continues in the topic below]

Amendments; Stirner and/or/as/against Hegel

Anonymous speaketh thusly:

(1) I have attempted a "Friendly amendment" to the paragraph on Hegel --I hope you can recognise that modern Hegelian opinions about Stirner *are opinions*, and the phrasing needs to make it clear that this is a 20th century POV, *not* an argument inherent in Stirner's text:

Stirner attended university in Berlin, where he attended the lectures of Hegel, among others. Some modern Hegelians maintain that Hegel was an important inspiration for Stirner's thinking, although there are neither structural, nor logical similarities between their philosophies, and Stirner's own comments about Hegel's work are entirely contemptuous and dismissive thereof. However, some Hegelians feel that Stirner's critique of Hegel shows a profound awareness of Hegel's work, and therefore suggest that Hegel's philosophy must be important to Stirner's intellectual development --even if Stirner's mature philosophy comprises a thorough repudiation of Hegelianism (both in form and content).

(2) The phrase about psychological egoism and ethical egoism has been presented as a separate little paragraph --again, I've retained the point you nutty Hegelians are trying to make, but have made it clear that this is only a POV, and differs from the writ of the original text!

Stiner has been broadly understood as a proponent of both psychological egoism and ethical egoism, although he did refute the latter position in his own writing, maintaining that there is no sense in which one "ought to" pursue one's own interest, and further claiming any such category of "ought" to belie a crypto-religious conceit/cause. The notion that one's own interest (or one's own nature) is a "calling" to which one is beholden (or "ought to follow" in any moral or imperative sense) is, strictly speaking, contrary to Stirner's tenets.

(3) In reply to D.W., I have clearly stated my argument, and you have not provided any substance for the wacky claims you make linking Stirner to Hegel. Vague statements such as "Stirner extends and explores the limits of Hegelian criticism..." really do not cut it in the world of philosophy; if you can't actually show that Stirner uses the logical structure of Hegelian critique (hint: he doesn't!) then don't make such airy, baseless claims in an encyclopedia. Stirner has a sub-chapter in which he attacks and repudiates "Criticism" as a movement in philosophy --and he correctly attributes the origin of this "movement" to Kant, not Hegel. Hegel was hardly the only author to write Pseudo-Kantian sounding books with titles and chapter-titles named Critique of... in 19th century Germany --and men such as Stirner and Schopenhauer saw right through the academic jargon of that Hegel and his ilk had inherited from Kant and Chr. Wolff. Your supposedly historical claim that Hegel is simply "So important" that Stirner could not fail to have been dependent upon him (and Feuerbach of all people!) in constructing his own philosophy is precisely the kind of academic nonsense that gets laughed out of the room in the company of real philosophers: if Stirner repudiates Hegel, and you claim that in fact Stirner's philosophy is built on Hegelian concepts and methods you have to prove it. In Stirner's case, there is a very large burden of proof incumbent upon you --and you have not proven anything except that the extreme vagueness of some of Hegel's conclusions in the _P. des Geistes_ can be construed (by later, 20th century readers) as having something to do with the ego. So what? Marxists read Hegel as if he were talking about politics when he was talking about the unity of the mind of God; and, most hilariously, Francis Fukuyama interprets passages in which Hegel attacks constitutional monarchy (and defends slavery!) as justifications for electoral democracy and capitalist economics. These "latter-day readings" of Hegel do not reveal anything inherent in Hegel's text --and your assertion that one such "creative interpretation" of Hegel has something (very vague) in common with Stirner's conception of the ego proves absolutely nothing about either Stirner or Hegel as source texts. Reminder: an encyclopedia article about an author should describe that author, his work, and (briefly) the character of the texts he produced. Do not present 20th/21st century re-interpretations as if they were written by Stirner himself! If you want to set up a separate sub-chapter in the article titled Scholarly Re-interpretations, and then clearly indicate that these are P.O.V. statements by Hegelians, I can allow it --but you're writing this stuff as if it described the content of Stirner's own work --it doesn't! Stirner's own work repudiates Hegel, and neither makes use of the structure of Hegel's _Phenomenology_ (which your Encyclopedia article originally claimed!) nor does it borrow terminology or content from Hegel --nor is there even one tenet about which Stirner is in agreement with Hegel! So, to speak precisely, these are two completely opposed philosophers, that some modern Hegelians like to compare to one-another on the basis of a psychological re-interpretation of Hegel (wherein, notably, Hegel's often used "absolute" become quite non-absolute!). This does not mean that Stirner's philosophy "Would have been impossible without Hegel" --and if you cannot actually demonstrate any kind of intellectual inheritance from Hegel in the tenets positively esposed by Stirner's philosophy, you must concede this point. The fact that Stirner derided and ridiculed Hegel does not make him one of Hegel's disciples; the very opposite should be obvious (to anyone but a Hegelian --you guys always have trouble with "opposites" --I guess it's that doctrine of "the unity of opposites" that you're preaching all the time, ha ha).

More blather from DW-- I'd appreciate it if you left off that "voice of god" attitude you seem to so hooked on and just debated this like an ordinary mortal. You don't have the power to disallow anything. Anon, it's really pretty uncontroversial what I am claiming. Stirner was part of the Young Hegelian group, wasn't he? They were Hegelians! Renegade ones, to be sure, but this is part of the historical record. There's D.F. Strauss, who wrote Das Leben Jesu in 1835-36, which was the first step away from the Master's Lutheranism. August von Ciezskowski took the Hegelian dialectic and applied it to political theory--"the future will be an age of acts and not of facts." Then, we have Bruno Bauer, who proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Christ did not exist, and opened the way towards philosophic atheism. This was all done in the context of a response to Hegel's system, with a growing opposition to it gathering steam with each new step. Feuerbach gained notoriety by critiquing Hegel's position regarding abstraction; his "Towards a Critique of Hegelian Philosophy" of 1839 was a watershed in the development of philosophic materialism. In contrast to PhG, The Essence of Christianity was indeed the immediate point of departure for Stirner's magnum opus. Stirner's book was mainly a response to Feuerbach's, who was the reigning intelligence in Young Hegelian circles at the time. Der Einzige, as you may recall, opens with a quote from Feuerbach. Much of the book is merely (merely!) a lengthy dissection of Feuerbach's simple assertion, "Man is to Man the true Supreme Being." It's true, Stirner has developed a perspective in which Hegelian terminology as such no longer has a place. He has thoroughly moved beyond Hegel. But this does not obviate the matrix from which Stirner's thought appeared. For a thorough discussion of the lineaments of the Young Hegelian enterprise as a whole, I recommend John Toews' Hegelianism (1980). Toews' dense account would not benefit from anything I might contribute to "prove" that all these thinkers are intimately related, and, moverover, trace the origins of their perspectives essentially to Hegel. This argument is becoming quite tiresome, and I would only add at this point that I am in no way, shape or form a Hegelian, nor am I an academic. "Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints!" "For he who contends against vice, vice exists." I will leave you to contemplate such dialectically formulated quotes and "allow" you to draw your own conclusons.--Davidwestling2 4/26/05

Anonymous speaketh thusly (2):

I am not "playing god", D.W., I am playing the part of a man who has read all the primary sources in question --and I find your contentions absolutely laughable --and they reflect the kind of over-reliance on secondary sources that modern universities encourage. Take, e.g., your statement that it is "a matter of historical record" that Stirner "was" a quote-on-quote "Young Hegelian". Why don't you find me one passage where Stirner describes himself as a "Hegelian"? There isn't one. Who were these so-called "Young Hegelians"? They were, as a matter of historical record called Die Freien --they never called themselves young hegelians. They called themselves "The Free", and they had very little in common with one-another --and even less in common with Hegel. The only group of philosophers Stirner was a part of as a matter of historical record was Die Freien --none other! Some later Hegelians (who wrote the histories of philosophy long after Stirner was dead) lumped him in with the followers of Hegel --and if (e.g.) you want to call Bruno Bauer or Feuerbach a follower of Hegel, I don't really care to debate the point. However, the claim that Stirner was a Hegelian --given what he explicitly says about Hegel's philosophy-- is an unproven assertion, and one that would be very difficult to prove. Your abstract statement that, despite the total lack of Hegelian terminology, tenets or method in Stirner's philosophy, there is a "Matrix" of influence that associates Stirner with Hegel is really quite weak. Why do you suppose Hegel is a more important influence than, say, Adam Smith? In case you didn't know, Stirner spent years translating Adam Smith's book The Wealth of Nations from English into German --he thought that Smith was a very important thinker. He never said anything so nice about Hegel! Now Adam Smith was a very influential 19th century thinker --and, unlike Hegel, he wrote about the themes that Stirner cared about --such as self-interest, egoism, and how these relate to social change. Isn't it interesting how this encyclopedia article doesn't mention Adam Smith, but your vague assertion of a "Matrix" of influence seems to justify copious assertions about Hegel? Look, D.W., I am being ascerbic, but I am not being unreasonable: I quoted my proposed amendments to the article above (in my prior message), and they do include clear statements that Hegel was (debatably) an important influence --and that some people today think Hegel was a very important influence. I'm not one of those people, but I'm also not trying to exclude your view from the article --so long as it is clear that it is only one POV! I have already stated in my previous argument that a great deal of the book is written in reply to Feuerbach --so obviously I do not disagree with you (D.W.) that Feuerbach's work was important to Stirner's development. However, the fact that Stirner repudiates Feuerbach does not make him a Hegelian (the opposite supposition is very difficult to defend!); on the contrary, if you look at the sources Stirner actually *agreed with*, or that Stirner says were important to him, you get a much different picture of the "Matrix" of values out of which _Der Einzige_ emerged. The first half of _Der Einzige_ is largely a dismissal of contemporary philosophy (and/or contemporary European civilization generally) --have you considered what sources were influencing Stirner in the composition of the positive assertion of his own philosophy? e.g., "The Union", and other lengthy passages, in which he is explaining his own views, rather than just attacking Hegel and Feuerbach? There is certainly nothing Hegelian in the positive portion of Stirner's work --and to say that there is an inherently Hegelian quality in the purely negative passages lambasting Hegel seems to me an inherently flawed argument. --ANONYMOUS USER

(reply to the above)
Anonymous, I've deleted my recent reply to you, as I've read more thoroughly the posts above, and become less irritated by your insistance on your proclaimed anonymity and the persistance of your argument. I am not less irritated, as I was not satisfied with the version of the article, as it stood out after your edits.
However, I believe the article can grow to become even better, and represent different interpretations better, even though I still believe the "Stirner as Hegelian" standpoint deserves a thorough mentioning (it has now gotten its own section, which I find is reasonable, as well as halfway meeting your primary critique, that it became muddled up in Stirner's own argument. With the use of some wordings from David Westling (hope this is okay with you, David), I elaborated and explicitly referenced the hegelian school to Löwith and Stepelevich, with examples.
Generally, I believe this text should not just reflect a matter of philosophical or political argument, it should reflect the life of the man, and the things that've since been written about him. As it is, there's a strong academic tradition for interpreting Stirner as a Hegelian. Naturally this should be reflected in the article. Beware that your anti-hegelian POV not un-balances the article from the major points which it tries to clarify. I agree the origins of certain points should be made more clear, and not taken for granted.
As a historian, I tend to see Stirner as an achievement in a long line of thinking, in which Hegel has a vital role, but which is ultimately indeed deeply rooted in christianity, and could not have taken place without Christianity. So yes, you could say that Stirner could not have done his work without Christ, as well as Hegel. There is nothing particularly ridiculous in that point. Christ is, as Stirner himself mentions, one of the greatest egoists, proclaiming his own world and his own church, even his own calendar, to the disrespect of jewish authority.
As a general objective for the article, I think people unfamiliar with Stirner or philosophy in general should be able to look this article up and get a meaningful introduction, from which they may research further information. They shouldn't get caught right into a highbrowed philosophical debate, where one POV disputes the other POV. That is certainly not my idea of NPOV. Thats my only one concern.
PS. Adam Smith was a 18th century thinker, btw, and not contemporary with Hegel or Stirner. I do think it would be `very interesting to see an account of Stirner's relation with Adam Smith, but as far as I know, there is none?
--Morten 4 July 2005 00:05 (UTC)

To say that Stirner was influenced by Hegel cannot possible be wrong - it is a strong understatement. To the anonymous user who objected so strongly to this obvious fact, let me inform you, that to be "influenced by" does not mean "to agree with" - quite the contrary, you are also influenced by someone if you base your writing upon a mission to rebut his thoughts. NOT ONE continental philosopher contemporary with or after Hegel was not influenced by him. It was absolutely impossible unless you lived in a cave to not be influenced by Hegel when you lived in Germany at that time, since he was the "State Philosopher"... and Max Stirner studied under Hegel so of course he is influenced by him.

So much for historical facts. Speaking about reading (and understanding) the two philosophers: it is clear that Stirner is philosophically influenced by Hegel. His work 'Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum' is one long rebuttal and ridiculing of the hegelians, but his work is also very very hegelian itself. This does not mean that he agrees with Hegel or that his philosphy shares Hegel's world view - on the CONTRARY: Stirner style of writing, his choice of words such as oppositions (the 'I' is both nothing and everything at the same time) is clearly meant as references to Hegel, but what Stirner is describing is the opposite of Hegels "absolute". Stirner's 'I' has all the characteristics of Hegels "absolute Geist" in some form (it is unmentionable, ever-changing, all-containing, self-based) - the big difference is, that the I is concrete, and real.

Stirner even paraphrases Hegel several places - not as in quoting because he agrees with him - but paraphrases his style of writing but used in a different context. Clearly he is influenced by Hegel - who wasnt? - but not just that, as an "anti-hegelian", Stirner was a very stringent interpretor of Hegel. He embraced Hegel, chewed him up, swallowed him, and turned him into his own property: Verdaue die Hostie und Du bist sie los!

-VHS

Anonymous speaketh thusly: June, 2006

Moreten, your extreme ignorance is given away by your final comment, questioning if there is any connection between Stirner and Adam Smith: Stirner's final publication was a complete translation of Adam Smith's _Wealth of Nations_ into German. This was a major labor that occupied several years. Stirner certainly read Smith (as did Marx, Engels, etc.) and was certainly influenced by him; to know this only requires READING.

This article now includes references to Stirner as a member of a "faction" of so-called Young Hegelians. This is a fiction, and badly mis-represents both who/what "die Freien" were, and makes a misleading anachronism out of the term "Young Hegelian". There was no such "faction", and Stirner did not identify himself as a Hegelian, nor did he join any political faction in his entire life!

Your claim to being concerned to show the historical facts of Stirner's life and work in the article is badly undermined by these two observations alone.

As my namelessness annoys you, I shall break my anonymity as follows: www.pali.pratyeka.org

I am a scholar of ancient asian languages, and am also extremely well read in 19th century philosophy.

I will not get involved in this parlour game of pretending that every continental philosopher "must have been" influenced by Hegel; it would be much easier to assign such a central role to Sir Issac Newton or Charles Darwin than to Hegel. As with any philosopher since Anaxagoras, it is not sufficient to show that other authors lived after, and therefore hoe'd the same row; rather, one must demonstrate some affinity or agreement between their works. It is a significant step to claim that "notwithstanding the fact that Stirner repudiates Hegel, and ridicules him constantly..." we should never-the-less describe Stirner as a member of a "faction" of "Hegelians"! This is absurd, and beneath contempt for an encyclopedia article or responsible scholarship in general. My contention has never been that Stirner was ignorant of Hegel's work but, as stated repeatedly, that the significance of H. for S. has been grosssly exaggerated --especially by those who simply are not familiar with the rich and varied textual sources that Stirner *did* work from and *did* agree with.

Streamlined the 'influences' section

I have streamlined some parts of the influences section and removed the unconfirmed reference to Kierkegaard (as I reconsidered the relevance of this speculative connection - which is my own speculation). I also moved some of the information in influences to the pages of Duchamp and Frank Brand respectively. I consider these changes uncontroversial. BTW, there seems to have been some reasonably ok changes lost from the recent revert. I have added a few of them, and will try and implement a few more of them again when I find the time. --Morten 13:05, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

DEAD LINK removed : *[http://kropot.free.fr/Stirner-Nietzsche.htm Stirner and Nietzsche], thesis (of 1904) examining Nietzsche's relation to Stirner (In French). (Would be nice to have a good link to the text)
Reference to : "Stirner's Critics", a clarifying reply to his critics, - already mentioned in the text. No need to put everything in the first paragraph. --Morten 22:50, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

I find the arguments put forth by 'anonymous' to be as obnoxious as they are erroneous. The fact that he keeps telling people they don't 'understand' the text is laughably ironic, as it is him who clearly does not understand the text or its context. The description of Stirner embracing, chewing up, swallowing and making Hegel his own is an apt metaphor. I don't know why 'anonymous' is so obsessed with pushing Hegel out of the picture. Without understanding where Feurerbach and Hegel were coming from, how could one possibly understand where Stirner was coming from? 'Anonymous' doesn't. And that's ok, but inflicting his ignorance on other readers of wikipedia is not. His concerns are accessibly on the discussion page, and need not influence edits on the main entry. When a single person whines for an edit and everyone else interested in the topic disagrees, its time for that person to realize that his opinions should not influence the main entry.

Racism/anti-semitism in Stirner's work

I'd like someone to address this. Some of the remarks in The Ego and its Own could be construed as terribly racist--particullarly the sections in which he talks about the 'primitive' Jew. Could someone who knows about this address it? I'm not sure what exactly to think of it. I can see how it could very well be racist, and also how it might just be a poor job of translating a more complex thought.

I'm not recalling exactly where this passage occurs, but Stirner is presumably referring to the problems associated with Old Testament foundation in Law and vengeance as opposed to anti-semitism considered from a racial standpoint. There is nothing, for example, in the book to associate Stirner with a positive view of miscegenation. Stirner's argument with the Jews was construed firmly on a conceptual basis, it seems to me. There are other, more problematic passages in Ego, however. He maintains, for example, that human history is something "whose shaping properly belongs altogether to the Caucasian race" (p. 62, Cambridge Univ. Press edition 1995). It's hard to imagine how this straightforward wording could have been substantively mistranslated. In 1845, it was undoubtedly easier to invest in such a sentiment than it is now, but in Stirner's defense, I would say that his conception refers to the driving force of civilization up to that time, which must have looked almost exclusively European. Stirner's tripartite division of history into the three stages (Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasian) reflects and undergirds this idea. It's hard to deny that individualism had little currency in non-Caucasian races generally from a historical point of view. Asian and African cultures are quite collectivist by European standards to this day. See my article "Individualism in the mid-nineteenth century" in the Nonserviam pages online for an expansion on this topic. The bottom line, it seems to me as pertains to this facet of Stirner's thought, is that Stirner was convinced that it was among the Europeans that personal autonomy first gained a foothold in culture, and that they are the historical agents most responsible for its development and spread. I don't believe Stirner would have maintained that this idea of the primacy of personal autonomy was ungraspable or otherwise unacceptable to members of other races. But, the argument would have to run, insofar as one finds oneself imbued with unalloyed collectivist ideologies, as is far more dificult to escape in non-European cultures, one would undoubtedly be saddled with a greater burden to overcome than those whose cultural heritage was less unfriendly to individual autonomy.--David Westling 18 Nov 05

thanks..

[Not-so-]Anonymous joins the conversation::

The majority of "racist" remarks in Stirner are in fact about the Chinese, and are uniformly motivated by Stirner's limited understanding of (the then Confucian) Chinese society as extremely ordered, hierarchical, partriarchical, and inimical to personal individuality. He makes many remarks *against* bigotry and racism, as part of his constant screed against nationalism of any kind; his actual remarks about the division between Jews and Gentiles in 19th century Germany are quite interesting, and do not reflect "simple bigotry" at all. Specifically, his doctrine for overcoming racism is that each side must realize that the categories of race (as per nation, etc.) are fictional, and only the individual is actual; thus, with the main example being anti-semitism, he deems that the problem is not that Jews and Germans regard one-another as alien, but they do not realize that they are completely alien from one-another as individuals, and that all other "divisions" and "aggregations" into larger units are false --and tend to violence and mutual mis-apprehension.

This "wisdom" on my part simply reflects that I have read the text; so far as I can tell, nobody else here has done so. I can easily supply all of the salient quotations if I bring my edition to the internet cafe next time.

Okay, here's the new section (in its unexpurgated form) added to address the issue. I did not try to offer my own "POV", but rather (1) to provide an overview with all due concision, and (2) to counter the treatment offered by Leopold in his introduction, which, sadly, is probably the most influential source on the subject!

The Question of Racism in Stirner's Oeuvre.

Opinions among scholars have been strongly divided as to how the terms "racism" and "racialism" apply to Stirner's oeuvre. Those who reject the accusation that Stirner was a racist can point to Stirner's protacted (and consistent) opposition to bigotry and nationalism of any kind, and his many passages attacking the racism of Germans as narrow-minded "tribalism" and "Teutonomania". However, for many modern readers, Stirner's use of the (now odious) 19th century racial categories "Mongoloid" and "Negro" constitute powerful prima facie evidence, and may cause them to ignore his direct arguments against racist nationalism.

Stirner's central argument (or "method") on the question of racial identity hinges on his assertion that ethnicity is an illusory and invidious notion (variously exploited by nationalism, liberalism, and the Church in his contemporary Germany) and that can be broken by the uniqeness (and "nothingness") of the ego. With the latter breaking of the illusion a free intercourse between people of different ethnicities is supposed to ensue; this seems to work from a cosmopolitan or "multi-cultural" assumption wherein each distinct ethnicity or religion should "assert [its] distinctness or peculiarity: you need not give way or renounce yourself [viz., your ethnic identity]" (p. 185). This is a striking contrast to the widespread presumption of the time that ethnic minorities in Europe were obliged to assimilate or else depart. Stirner excoriates the presumption that ethnic divisions can be "dissolved" by the forced imposition of a nationalistic identity, and similarly rejects the liberal claims that the issue will disappear if only state power would provide "equal rights" to all:

The "equality of right" is a phantom ... people dream of "all citizens of the state having to stand side by side, with equal rights". As citizens of the state they are certainly all equal for the state. But it will divide them, and advance them or put them in the rear, according to its special ends, if on no other account... People conceive of the significance of the opposition [between ethnicities] too formally and weakly when they want only to 'dissolve' it in order to make room for a third thing that shall 'unite'. The opposition deserves rather to be sharpened. [...] Our weakness consists not in this, that we are in opposition to others, but in this, that we are not completely so; that we are not entirely severed from them, that we still seek a "Communion", a "Bond", that in communion we have an ideal. One faith, one god, one idea, one hat, for all! If all were brought under one hat, certainly no one would need to take off his hat for another anymore.

The last and most decided opposition, that of unique against unique, is fundamentally beyond what is called opposition, but without having sunk back into "unity" and unison. As unique you no longer have anything in common with the other, and therefore nothing divisive or hostile either; you are not seeking to be in the right before a third party [viz., god, the state, etc.], and are standing with [others] neither on "the basis of right" nor on any other common ground. The opposition vanishes in complete severance or singleness. This might be regarded as the new point in common, or as a new parity, but here the parity consists precisely in the disparity, an eqality of disparity, and [even] that [distinction arises] only for him who poses the two in "comparison". [p. 184-186]

Unfortunately, David Leopold has badly misinterpreted one of the most inflammatory passages (dealing with race) in his introduction to the Cambridge edition (op. cit. supra). The passage appears as a non-sequitor ("episodically", in Leopold's terms) from pg. 62-65, and certainly does employ offensive racial terms, but, significantly, these terms are employed to ridicule the (then mainstream) European conceptions of their own history and ethnic heritage.

The passage in question begins [p. 62-3] by claiming that the period Western scholars commonly refer to as "European antiquity" (viz., classical Greece and Rome) should instead be termed "the Negroid age", viz., the period in which "Egypt and... northern Afica in general" are culturally predominant over Europe. Leopold's assessment seems to ignore the fact that this passage is not intended to insult black people, but is rather a pointed attempt to upset the (historically false, but still prevalent) European assumptions that paint modern racial prejudices onto ancient history, e.g., claiming that the Athenians, or even the Egyptians, were in some sense "Europeans" or ethnically "Caucasian", whereas the Hittites, and adjacent peoples of Asia Minor, etc., are presumed to be "non-white" enemies in this apocryphal racialization of bronze age history. Against this miasma of racial prejudices, Stirner brashly asserts that these ancient peoples were all "Negro", including the (much mythified) Athenian Greeks and Romans. He briefly expands on this to say that all of classical "Euroepan" philosophy is in fact African in character, a clear attempt to lampoon the historicist racialism of authors such as Hegel. His next assertion is that currently (viz., in the 19th century) Europeans are ethnically Mongoloid, not Caucasian: they follow a Mongolian religion, are worshipping a Mongolian god, and have the same social ideals as those of dynastic China. Thus, while European Christians imagine themselves to be superior to Asian idolators, Stirner asserts that Europeans have merely "wrestled for thousands of years with [the same] spiritual beings" as the Chinese, and still dream of going to "the Mongolian heaven, Tien", after they die. [p. 64] As with the first phase of the argument, it is clear that Stirner is not using these terms to insult Asians, but is throwing the established (Eurocentric) preconceptions of history back upon Europeans, and juding them to be (in their own racist terms) merely "Mongoloid" in their beliefs. [p. 63-5]

Although the passage is likely to be offensive to members of any religion (or almost any ethnicity) it is also noteworthy that Stirner here asserts that the dynastic empire of Confucian China is a more advanced civilization than that of Europe, but, from his perspective, this advancement is in precisely the wrong direction, viz., toward hierarchy, patriarchy, and the repression of the individual by obligation and law. For those who have studied Hegel's Philosophy of History, Stirner seems to have included a direct inversion of the Hegelian conception of freedom (based as it was upon a racist historical dialectic, and the glorification of law and obligation as the precondition of "freedom of the spirit"):

To want to win freedom for the spirit is Mongolism; freedom of the spirit is Mongolian freedom, freedom of feeling, moral freedom, and so forth.

Effectively, Stirner is here saying that what Germans imagine to be the "new" philosophy of freedom (according to Hegel, a philosophy exclusive to their race, and to their time) is really just a throwback to an ancient and repressive notion that was already prevalent in classical China (or "Mongoldom" as Stirner styles it).

Certainly, it is no accident that the passage in question is extremely offensive; most modern readers will likely feel insulted by it, or by the (now antiquated) terms it employs. Stirner clearly lacked any detailed understanding of classical Chinese civilization, and simply employs a limited sketch of its repressive, hierarchical elements as part of a reproach against European civilization in his own times. The primary purpose of the passage seems to be to upset the long-standing conceits of European pre-eminence, and it does not establish a racialist historiography of its own. What Leopold and other critics seem to have failed to understand is that what Stirner dubbs climbing "the ladder of culture, or civilization" [p. 64] is not a process that he seeks to glorify (as Hegel and so many others did), but rather to repudiate; thus, it is not inconsistent that Stirner identifies the culture of Confucian China with greater advancement and yet, at the same time, considers it abhorrent. In this passage "Civilization" is glossed as the subordination of the individual and the world to the rule of "the hierarchy of the spirit", viz., the inculcation of "habit, or second nature", and the proliferation of "principles" and "laws" on the basis of the enjoined obligations of man to "heaven". [p. 64] Thus, only at the conclusion of the passage does Stirner define what he means by the term "Mongolism", viz., "[the] utter absence of any rights of the sensuous, [it] represents non-sensuousness and unnature...". [p. 65] In some respects, this critique of civilization and culture (as such) seems to anticipate much later thinkers such as John Zerzan.

Is the use of the adjective "odious" to describe the categories of "Mongoloid" and "Negro" a result of the subjective personal opinion of the author of the above comment? Does everyone on earth, by conventional agreement, consider these categories to be hateful and disgusting? If so, is the category "Caucasian" also odious?Lestrade 19:37, 23 July 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Yes, the term Mongoloid is offensive, as you can learn even from the entry provided by the Wikipedia: it was part of a sustained theory by Europeans that "Mongolism" was a form of retardation that was innate and universal to people in Mongolia. The term "Caucasian" is also odious for good reason, and you may well check into the Wikipedia's own articles on the Curse of Ham or "The curse of canaan" as its also known; the pseudo-Biblical tripartite theory of the origin of the races is indeed "odious" and racist. Why don't you open a history book before contributing to a discussion of this kind, Lestrade?

Union of Egoists

Is there a reason why the social concept of "The Union of Egoists" presented in "The Ego and His Own" was not included in the article. Stirner's version of 'Voluntary Mutual Aid' is one of the factors that differentiates him from other thinkers like Nietzche. I'll wait for reasons before deciding whether to modify the article.

I for one didn't include the reference, as I find it is not of central importance in Stirner's work - although it is frequently brought up as an example of Stirner's version of 'egoism' being capable of social activity. Please feel free to include it at a proper place in the article, where you think it may belong - perhaps in the section of "power"`? - as an example of the 'voluntary union' that comes about when people join in with each other, in mutual interests? --Morten 20:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

I believe that Stirner precise in recensenten Stirner (called anticritique in french) that the Union of Egoist is an important part of his work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.123.101.179 (talk) 03:56, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

What's needed to make this a good article?

Just wanted to express my concern with the state of the article as it is now. I fear, from reading the text as it stands out now, that far too many authors are pushing their "own" agendas in the article, instead of trying to make the article stand clearly out, readily readable and understandable by anyone who cares to look up Stirner in Wikipedia. I hope present and future authors will comply to make the best possible article - rather than just inserting their own particular argument, name, influence or whatever somewhere randomly in the text. Some passages repeatedly gets totally muddled up because of this. When you edit this page as an author, please care to take responsibility for the complete text, not just "putting in your fingerprints" - it annoys the hell out of me, when people do this, and really is why I refrain from making a thorough effort at cleaning it up, over and over again. Sorry to say so, but it seems to me, that this article has "peaked", and it is now not getting better for each edit, but becoming way to muddled up for its own good, in narrow philosophical egotrips of some of its editors. There has been a lot of good additions since we first started building up the article, but now it just gets more confused and narrow in its scope, for every time I look it up. --Morten 18:39, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

When someone wants to present a POV, you'd want to present this as faithfully and objectively as possible, even though you may disagree yourself. But very often, on wikipedia, entries become flip-flop sentences that makes no sense when read in a full article. It takes a lot of structure to build new aspects into an article like this, and backing up of arguments. Not just inserting the trivial "but someone else means something different" addition, which conveys nothing new about the subject in a given section. --Morten 18:46, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
Would someone (most appropriately, the contributors who wrote this) like to adress, what meaning the following paragraph contributes to the article :
This opinion by Professor Stepelevich is predictable insofar as he was an advocate of Max Stirner. However, his opinion is not shared by many theorists today, nor was it common in Stirner's day. Although Bruno Bauer was a close friend of Max Stirner and they supported each other personally, Bauer's writings built upon Hegel's themes of history and theology (specifically, the relation of Christian theology to Greco-Roman literature), and in all of his lifelong work Bruno Bauer did not cite Max Stirner as a source.
On the positive side, the linking philosophical concept between Hegel, Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner is the concept of Divine Self-consciousness as it pertains to the advancement of human Self-consciousness. This was the key theme of Bauer's writings. The key theme of Max Stirner's writings was the more narrow theme of human Self-consciousness and its rights.
What does Bauer citing Stirner has got to do with anything, concerning if Stirner completed Hegel's project or not? What does Stepelevich's opinion being common in Stirner's day have to do with anything? He's a modern theorist, for crying out loud, so of course his ideas wouldn't be common in the 1840'es! IMHO, this stuff doesn't do the article any good, and lets the article become obscured by strange philosophical jib-jab. If noone protests it, I will remove these paragraphs on the next time I review the article. --Morten 20:04, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I hear no loud objections, so I have removed the two paragraphs from the article, for the reasons stated above. --Morten 00:48, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Idealist/Materialist

Does anyone know if Stirner tended towards idealism or materialism? I am assuming (given his Hegelian associations) that he espoused a more idealist outlook, but the contemporaneous secular philosophies (Marx, Feuerbach) dismissed idealism in favor of materialism. ~2-21-05

This is not as easy a question to answer as it might appear. A quote by Stirner (from "Stirner's Critics") from Frederick M. Gordon's article "The Debate Between Feuerbach and Stirner: An Introduction" in the Philosophical Review number on the Young Hegelians (1976) sheds some light on the problem: "Feuerbach is, to be sure, not a materialist (Stirner never said he was, but described him only as a materialist who bears the properites of idealism); he is not a materialist, for while he imagines he is talking about actual men, he says nothing about them. He is also, however, not an idealist, for while he speaks without ceasing about the essence of man, an idea, he nonetheless imagines himself to be talking about 'the sensible human essence.'". Gordon himself continues with some pertinence: "It was this charge, that Feuerbach oscillated between a [sic] contradictory philosophies of materialism and idealism that made the greatest impression on Feuerbach's contemporaries, including Marx. The original title of The German Ideology was 'Feuerbach: Between Materialism and Idealism', a title which came, without much doubt, from the passage from Stirner quoted above." In the passage from Stirner quoted above, we are offered some tantalizing clues concering his opinions on the matter. He implies that he believes that one can characterize someone as having a materialist philosophy who can concoct a philosophy concerning "actual men" without contradiction. I would say that he placed himself in this category. The problem is that of the ego or "I", something that cannot be examined with the five senses. A materialist in the mold of Hume or Comte would, of course, regard the ego as an unwarranted assumption based on materialist grounds. This is empricism, which I find it simplifying to regard as the real basis for materialism. In this sense, Stirner is not a materialist. F. A. Lange, in his seminal work "The History of Materialism", confesses a puzzlement on this subject as well: ""What a pity that to this book [The Ego and Its Own]--the extremest that we know of anywhere--a second positive part was not added. It would have been easier than in the case of Schelling's philosophy; for out of the unlimited Ego I can again beget every kind of Idealism as _my_ will and _my_ idea...Stirner does not stand in so clear a relation to Materialism, nor has his book had so much influence, that we need linger with him." But Stirner was not in the mold of a Bishop Berkeley, who contended that it was only the mind which had actual existence. For Stirner, the outside world existed...only we cannot know it directly. I count Stirner as a certain type of materialist, one that bears only a tangential relationship to Empiricism and its progeny, analytical philosophy et cetera. Stirner would never contend that only what can be apprehended by the five senses can be said to exist, which implies a most complete rejection of subjectivism. On the other hand, mental events, considered as concepts, have a distincly subsidiary reality for him; he would undoubtedly have agreed with the basic materialist principle that all possible mental events can be traced to a physical cause. At the same time, his subjectivism is the most thoroughgoing imaginable; moreover, it is based in a radical Nominalism even Ockham wouldn't have dared to espouse. This is the new materialism, one that can light the way to a completely new way of experiencing reality.--David Westling Mar 10, 2006


Removed a few repetitions

I have removed a few things from the "bio" section, which simply repeated stuff which was also treated in the "influences" section. It appears the article is so long now, that editors don't really care to read the entire article...

I also removed the following entry, which might be preserved for someplace else.

In their book, The Holy Family (March 1845), they mocked Bauer and his entourage mercilessly, but did not even mention the name of Stirner.

It is really on Marx and Engels on Bauer, not on Stirner (so it could go to the page on Marx, Engels or Bauer, whatever is most appropriate). Otherwise I think the point is quite slim. What does Marx and Engels not quoting Stirner in a work about Bauer have to do with Stirner? --Morten 01:15, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

The probable reason for this omission in a polemic against not only Bauer but all Berlin Young Hegelians becomes quite clear when you study the timetable of Marx' (and Engels') quarrel with Stirner from Nov 1844 until the writing of "Saint Max" 1845/46 (all this published only posthumously). There are accounts of this in English by Frederick Gordon, Philip Breed DeMatteis... lastly by Ernie Thomson (2004), also in Paterson's Stirner book. --Nescio* 20:16, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Alright, I see. Probably just a little congenial, although I see the point. --MortenB 15:54, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Stirner's influence on Nietzsche 2

Since a user (or wiki officer ?) named Goethean has just deleted a passage dealing in a new way with the old question of a possible influence of Stirner on Nietzsche (based on new biographical facts)

18:51, 19 April 2006 Goethean (→Influence - - making invisible deceptive presentation of unsubstantiated claims.)

I should inform people with expertise on Stirner that, after he did the same on the Nietzsche article, I try to discuss this topic presently on the discussion page there. --Nescio* 20:29, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

I believe the article should at least present some kind of linkage between Stirner and Nietzsche (after the deletion of this passage, there is none). I also think the previous passage was a decent, mostly substantiated piece, which has arrived at this state after a LOT of revisions. I will try and edit the text back in, if noone objects further (or if noone does it before I get around to it). --Morten 11:11, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
It has recently been further substantiated that Nietzsche did read Stirner's book, yet even he did not mention Stirner anywhere in his work, his letters, his papers (see references below: "Nietzsche's initial crisis"). Nietzsche's thinking sometimes resembles Stirner's to such a degree that some authors (first was Eduard von Hartmann 1891) have called him a plagiarist. This seems too simple an explanation of what Nietzsche might have done with Stirner's ideas. Historical fact is that Stirner's book was banned to underground and oblivion for half a century, and only after Nietzsche had suddenly become a kind of philosophical popstar in the 1890s the cultured public was ready to let Stirner come to the open, now taking him at best as an awkward predecessor of Nietzsche. Thus Nietzsche - as formerly Marx by outlining the concept of historical materialism in 1845/46 - did not really plagiarize Stirner but, much more precarious, "superseded" him by creating an appealing and impressive philosophy.
I would not call this "a decent, substantiated piece which has arrived at this state after a LOT of revisions." I would call it over-reaching speculation by a writer with an axe to grind. It has not been substantiated the Nietzsche read Stirner. You assign an anti-Stirner motive to the "cultured public". You call Nietzsche a "kind of philosophical popstar". Further, you come up with an original theory about the relationship between Stirner and Nietzsche. I say: scrap it. — goethean 20:41, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, this is not a very deep interest of mine and I would be willing to rework most of that passage. I didn't write that passage myself, but has seen it being improved over several revisions. Either way, it seems very arrogant to me to delete the complete passage without even a note on this talk page. It is a better approach to rewrite the passage, or leave it to others to rework it, if you do not have the time yourself. It is NOT very constructive to delete a complete passage without prior warning, especially so, as you don't seem to take the complete article and its structure and content into account. It isn't conduiteful.
As for substantiation of Nietszche reading Stirner; That point has been brought forward by Nietszches friend, the theologist and philosopher Franz Overbeck (d. 1906) in his memoirs on Nietszche - published in "Neue Rundschau", 17 (1906), vol.1. Overbeck went through the records of the university library of Basel, where Nietszche had taught (from 1869-1879). These records showed that N's favourite student Adolf Baumgarten on the 14th of July 1874 had borrowed Stirner's book, "on Nietzsche's warmest recommendations" - so Baumgarten later told Overbeck. Furthermore, Overbeck recalls that N came to visit Overbeck and his wife in the winter of 1878/1879, and had spoken of two peculiar writers he had taken an interest in, Klinger and Stirner.
This may very well be slim 'evidence' of the vaguest sorts, but as this is very much the case with most sources on Stirner, I'll take it. Personally, I believe this is the closest connection between the two of this kind, there is. They are two very different thinkers, as a French study has so firmly pointed out a few years back. What remains interesting, is that a revival in interest in Stirner conincides with N's popularity around the turn of the century, where a Danish translation (among others) appears, with a foreword by the N-inspired Danish cultural critic Georg Brandes. --Morten 23:54, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi Morten, I agree, that it was arrogant and not conduiteful what Goethean did here: in my opinion it was pure vandalism. At the Nietzsche page he did the same beforehand, deleting a passage with a similar content seven minutes (!) after it was added, obviously without checking the given source. Regrettably on the Nietzsche talk page he was only hesitatingly and mildly criticized by one or two fellow talkers for this behaviour, and in the end -- it's very instructive to read the discussion in detail -- the "consensus" of 6 or 7 people involved was that the article should remain purged from that whole passage.

After that no one did rework the passage in question here on the Stirner page within a month I thought it useful to "make it visible" again. So everybody is free to improve on it. --Nescio* 11:43, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Here's a couple of articles by Bernd A. Laska that make a pretty strong case for Stirner not just being an influence, but THE Postulate of Nietzsche. http://www.lsr-projekt.de/poly/eninnuce.html http://www.lsr-projekt.de/poly/ennietzsche.html. The parts that talk about Eduard Mushacke make an undeniable connection. Also Overbeck's wife has an interesting recollection as one of the articles will show.

Hello. I added a fair amount of material supporting the suggestion that Nietzsche knew Stirner's work. A direct report by one of Nietzsche's contemporaries indicating that he personally told her about his knowledge of Stirner is a bit better than "speculation". Ditto for his sister's apparently serious concern with creating a paper trail of statements very early on in order to nip any potential Stirner-related trouble in the bud. Why would she go to such trouble unless there were serious questions being raised at the time? I realize that much of this was mentioned in Laska's online article, however the availability of English translations of the source material in a readily available edition seems to justify the inclusion of these citations here. I've seen talk here of the article being "too long" (my mother, also a writer, used to say that "a dog's legs should be long enough to reach the ground"). Before anyone peremptorily hacks out this material I'd like to point out that the Nietzsche page itself (where discussion of Stirner's possible influence perhaps more properly belongs) contains no mention of this subject. If it gets removed here, where will it go?--Picatrix (talk) 11:20, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

The majority of the material you added was very helpful and much needed and won't be hacked out. I hacked out the comparison of quotations not because they weren't helpful but because this sort of comparison could go on forever and this article can quickly become huge and messy, but they could be put in an additional section in the Philosophy of Max Stirner article drawing contrasts and similarities between the two thinkers perhaps. On the Nietzsche article, I have unsuccessfully tried a number of times (check the discussion page) just to get the matter mentioned. Itafroma (talk) 16:01, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes. I recognized after the fact that not only would what I wrote be long and sprawling, but the way in which I phrased it the first time could definitely be construed as original research. I think an independent article with the sole purpose of comparing the writing of both men is warranted. If this is the sole purpose of the article there will be no justifiable reason for others to arbitrarily prune content. The persistence of many Nietzsche scholars in completely dismissing Stirner seems to stem from the fact that the discussion of relationship is always framed in the context of plagiarism. People claiming to be objective Nietzsche scholars should definitely ask themselves if they wish to engage in precisely the same sort of knee-jerk dismissal of Stirner as Nietzsche's sister did. She certainly has not emerged as an objective figure in the history of Nietzsche scholarship. Why then do most scholars follow her lead without a second thought? For my part, as I go through the work of both men the number of very close similarities is striking. A simple comparison of the statistical frequency of the use of specific terminology, as well as comparisons along the lines of the Pilate quotes I hazarded, should serve to initiate worthwhile discussion. And again, the period documentation raising the issue of a relationship between the thought of the two men certainly provides a legitimate basis for such exploration. Support for the assertion that there is a very strong relationship between the works of the two men is not wanting. The problem seems to lie in the plagiarism context I mentioned, as well as the fact that those who have retroactively 'adopted' Stirner ('anarchist-individualists') seem to feel a constitutional disinclination towards viewing Nietzsche as one who possibly developed and expanded Stirner's thought. Your thoughts?--Picatrix (talk) 11:47, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

New Sections added ... and about Leopold

Anonymous has added several new paragraphs and sections, June+July 2006, ... doubtless they will soon be perverted by a mix of hostile amendments. I hope that, at least, it will be noted that I have worked very closely from the source text, frequently citing the page that I am quoting or paraphrasing.

I would like to note that I have made comparative mention to Leopold¨s introduction with good reason, viz., that the vast majority of readers and students will find his opinions bound into the same volume with Stirner, as he wrote the introduction to the 1995 / 2000 Cambridge edition ... certainly the most used and most widely available text pertaining to Stirner in English.

Unfortunately, Leopold did an extremely sloppy and disingenuous job. Both his introduction and his end notes leave much to be desired. Well, the redress of such errors is one advantage of the internet. If my editors will allow it, so to speak.

E.M.

I can't believe the sorry state of this entry right now. The first time I read the wikipedia Stirner entry in 2003, it was a little short but at least it was readable. It was what got me into investigating Stirner further. If I had come across this entry, I would've been put off and probably never would've decided to read the book. Whoever did this, with the 'quotes from the text to back it up', should simply write an essay and post it somewhere. An encyclopedia entry is not supposed to be an essay about a text with quotes backing up the essay writer's essay. I'm not saying everything this person says about Stirner is wrong, he's obviously quite intelligent and does grasp at least the most important points of Stirners work, but not only does he fail to understand the importance of Hegel (without whom Stirner never would've developed Egoism at all), he doesn't understand the purpose of wikipedia, either.

And by the way, the Cambridge edition most certainly is NOT the most 'widely available text pertaining to Stirner in English'. The original english translation that is on Nonserviam is the most widely available text pertaining to Stirner in English.

In reply...

Well, I'm sorry if you don't like it but, as you said yourself, the article now covers "at least the most important points of Stirner's work". Although you may consider it too long it is certainly shorter than the articles that attempt to encapsulate the work of other philosophers on the Wiki (e.g., compare the article on Kant), and I do think that it is legitimately within the scope of an encyclopedia (especially if it is an encyclopedia of philosophy) to summarize "the most important points" of an author's work.

The comment on the Cambridge edition is a bit absurd; obviously, the latter is a printed book that went into two editions --the number of its sales probably exceed the number of real readers to download a less authoritative translation from a website, and it is certainly a more influential "milestone" in the relatively short list of English language publications on the subject.

The article already has plenty of material adumbrating Stirner's relationship to Hegel (how could you possibly want more on this subject, given that you consider the article too long as it already is?).

The reason for certain sections being added (e.g., the section on racism) was in response to reader requests. You can see above on this very page that the question of Stirner's views on race has arisen among contributors to this page, and it is also raised by Leopold's introduction, etc. Questions of race and racism arise on many of the philosophy pages on this Wiki --and, sadly, they are rarely treated with much candour. Hegel and Kant both held blatantly racist views that deserve at least an authoritative "mention in passing", but it is very difficult to prevent such material from being "whitewashed" by other contributors. I can only wait in horror to see what will become of this section in Stirner's case; presumably, nothing so nuanced as my original contribution will last long in this forum.

Providing quotations from the source text has become an important part of contributing to this wiki for a simple reason: it is the only thing that causes other contributors to pause for thought before they destroy or re-write your contributions.

Seeing how much this article has been expanded, I will suggest moving the more elaborate parts on Stirner's philosophy to the page on Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (the page on Stirner's main work, which deserves some cleaning up and restructuring too, as well as could do with some additional content) or simply a new page on Philosophy of Max Stirner which will be able to discuss better some of these points (linked appropriately from the relevant sections on this page).
I find (in correspondence with the first comment) that I'd prefer this page to be a shorter presentation of key points, biography and influences - and put the more elaborate stuff on pages, which people may look into if they want. I cannot dedicate myself at the moment to do this myself - but if someone feels the capacity to try and structure this set of pages on Stirner, I'd welcome it. --MortenB 23:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
PS. I cannot stress enough how confusing these talk pages get, when you forget or refrain from signing your comments with signatures. It really makes it difficult to gather who made what comment etc. cluttering everything up. Please sign your comments! --MortenB 23:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • * *

Sir, I refuted your original claim which was that the Cambridge version is the "most widely available text", NOT your post-hoc claim that the number of sales and readers of the Cambridge edition exceeds the number of sales and readers of the original version downloadable and readable on the internet. And since the version on the net is freely available, sales of the Cambridge one would obviously exceed it, however almost all of those sales of the Cambridge edition are to other libraries, where most of the books will never be read by anyone. The internet version is DEFINATELY the most "widely available" version simply by nature of being available on the internet, regardless of how many people read or download it. I also think it is very unlikely the Cambridge edition has been read by more people than the internet version, because A) the internet version has existed for almost 100 years and has been read by individuals in several eras of Stirner-revivalism, and B) because of my aforementioned point that the Cambridge edition is mostly purchased by libraries where most copies will undoubtably remain unopened for years, if not decades.

Furthermore, I certainly did not ask for "more on Hegel", I asked for less on Hegel, which could only be achieved by deletion of your incessant harping on Hegel.

By the way, the fact that you think your spamming of "quotes to back it up" is a means by which you can assure you bully your way into not being re-written or deleted is a clear indication that you fail to grasp the most important social aspects of Stirner's work, and are in fact nothing more than a petty egotist, a mere shadow of an egoist. Personally, I don't think you've evolved to the point in which you'd need to to be able to understand Stirner, or at least benefit from understanding his work. You wouldn't be providing such fallacious arguments in defense of some of your statements if you were. You would do well to work on your grasp of informal logic before trying to digest any more Stirner...

I would also second the opinion that your additions would be better off in the article for the book, The Ego and Its/His Own, or preferably a new Philosophy of Stirner page. As a donation of content to Wikipedia, your text isn't exactly worthless, it's just mis-filed at the moment.

Morton: Sorry, I haven't really been active enough on wikipedia to get used to signing in with my account. If and when I start doing edits I will. I think talk pages should allow a higher level of anonymity than needed for editing actual entries, don't you?

Just a short note on anonymity : You're far more anonymous logging in with an account, for all your edits. While anyone can decipher an ip-adress, which is used in its place, you can be perfectly anonymous using a pseudonym of your choice. You gain the additional benefit, that it is far easier for other users to follow discussions, as well as see what edits were made by whom to an article. And please do edit the articles! Be bold in editing ! Its what Wikipedia was made for, and it can be a lot of fun, as well as likely improve the general content and quality of pages. --MortenB 02:05, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I would argue that the original translation is more widely available due to the Libertarian Book Club publication of this version in 1963 and the Rebel Press, London's republication of this version in 1993. The Rebel Press edition is substantially cheaper than the Cambridge university press edition, and so is the more popular edition to readers in my mind. I welcome the new additions, they're just misplaced. They should probably be included in Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, as a new section about the cambridge edition.--Itafroma 11:02, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Ridiculous Antihistorical Liberal Apologetics

This whole article is a ridiculous joke. ORIGINAL RESEARCH IS POINTLESS, and the original research here consists of the most mindless, smarmy fashionable undergraduate-style liberalist pseudo-intellectualism. Barely any secondary sources are cited. The nervous, defensive, panic-ridden section on racism is absolutely pathetic in its antihistorical projection of modern artificial politically-correct values onto the past (the same problem modern 'universalist democrats' have when they encounter Nietzsche and Lovecraft), and its attempted dishonest liberal whitewashing of Stirner's racialist views by means of false, brain-twisting super-dialectics is furthermore intolerable. The whole article should simply be trashed and redone from a blank slate.

I agree that the whole article is clogged up with pseudo-intellectualism, although the undergrad comment is unnecessary, as many self-taught intellectuals will find that offensive (are all undergrads unintellectual?), especially as this is the Max Stirner talk page, the man who frowns on being bound to any academic institution, and who wrote only bad words about universities and university students. The page needs to be redone, but not from a 'blank slate'.Unfortunatly I will have to revert it to a more clear, unmangled, previous form. Unless any other users are willing to help me make it acceptable.Itafroma 17:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Recent expansions (much maligned)

Well, I absolutely should have expected to be reproached as an "Egoist" for contributing to these pages --but the other insults thrown about here are so absurd that they can hardly tug at my heartstrings. I especially appreciate the following, resounding conclusion:

"As a donation of content to Wikipedia, your text isn't exactly worthless, it's just mis-filed at the moment."

I couldn't agree more. I also do not particularly disagree with the (over-the-top) objections to the section on racism: however, these accusations lose sight of the fact that the value of such a contribution is to be measured precisely relative to what had been written on the subject before (viz., nothing in this forum, or in many sources, as in the case of Leopold's introduction, utter crap). If the author of the complaint on this issue would like to add a searing indictment of Stirner's "racialism" (as he sees it) I would be delighted to read such a thing. However, throwing around ad hominem indictments neither demonstrates that the person raising the objection is conversant with the source text, nor his/her P.O.V. is more objectively worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia entry.

I rather agree with his/her complaint (e.g.) that the current text is full of "Undergraduate" circumambulations of the issue --but that is precisely the tone with which such issues are treated in modern encyclopedias of philosophy. Admittedly, there is a less rarefied tone taken in anarchist web-blogs --but the Wikipedia is supposed to be something other than that.

If you bold-hearted bureaucrats of the open source encyclopedia will proceed to cut up the text and re-distibute it to various sub-pages, I can only applaud. However, this will be my final contribution to this or any other page of the Wikipedia.

I will not ever again make any attempt to improve or revise this or any other page.

"Anonymous" the non-anonymous.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 202.62.101.65 (talkcontribs) .


Don't give up. Some Wikipedia editors are ignorant and stubborn. They must be opposed, not appeased.Lestrade 17:38, 29 August 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

No, I've given up.
I notice that in the latest revisions carried out by these fools, any mention of racism/racialism has been purged from the text. And why? Because there is no "consensus view" among the self-appointed editors, and therefore even an NPOV statement that Stirner is (1) often accused of racism, but (2) the source text clearly repudiates racism (and actually contains protracted anti-racist arguments), cannot appear.
This interesting aspect of Stirner's work (and the mis-labelling of his work) was treated in the (English) edition of _The Ego..._ that was part of the "Roots of the Right" series that came out shortly after WWII --and, significantly, the introductory essay concluded that it was grossly inaccurate to categorize Stirner as "Right" or even as part of "the roots of the right" --except that Mussolini made some stray mentions of Stirner in newspaper columns (this is another curious factoid that has been purged from the Wiki, BTW; but yes, the Italian dictator Mussolini mentioned Stirner's work several times in writing).
The same thing has happened on various other pages. The format of the Wikipedia makes any kind of material like this inadmissable. Other wiki-pages for philosophers, who were clearly and overtly racist, are similarly "purged" of anything unflattering to the memory of the authors in question. Well, guess what, you kids on the wiki can fool yourselves, but Kant was a racist, and so was Hegel; but these authors, who have a bunch of rabid teenagers hawkishly re-writing their entries on a nearly daily bais, will never have an unflattering word in their entries.
These infantile minds simply proliferate the historically inaccurate simplifications and glorifications offered in introductory university courses, and do not reflect historical research nor a keen knowledge of the primary source text.
I have entirely given up on making any positive contribution to the wholly negative phenomenon of this miserable forum. I can only sit back and watch the disintegration of the last contribution that I attempted to make. It seems to have been wasted on the editorship.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 202.62.101.65 (talkcontribs) .

Too Messy

This page is way too messy.

    • Nothing is cited.
    • Too much is opinion.
    • And users with something valuable to add write too much.

Take this into account when editing please.Itafroma 16:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed! Please help return it to the state of a better structured article :-)
One word of comment to the creation of a The Creative Nothing-page... I personally would agree this is a very important idea of Stirner's, but it is also one which is highly speculative, especially so, as Stirner only used this expression once, in one of the concluding sentences of his book; in which 'the owner returns to the creative nothing, of which he is born'.
Therefore, it is not without problems to introduce a whole new article on this concept alone, as this is an encyclopedia, and in my book this very much constitutes 'original research'. Better keep it in the article, and tighten things up, where need be. My 2 cents. --MortenB 15:38, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree and have deleted the new article, which i created originally to try and make the Stirner article a bit shorter. The concept is certainly speculative, and difficult to fully interpret without including some opinion. Stirner's Critics certainly sheds some light on it. Thanks for your 2 cents, much needed at the moment on ths page.Itafroma 16:52, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Did you paste the text someplace else? I still believe this concept deserves mention, I just commented on warranting it a page of its own :-) --MortenB 00:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Most of it is now in 'The Self' section.Itafroma 17:15, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Hegel's Influence?

i'm not a user, just a reader...please forgive my lack of proper formatting and whatnot...i simply have this to say to the assembled:

is not the purpose of an encyclopedia to archive and present information, not opinion, not point of view, but information (as opposed to knowledge which is often dimensioned with opinion)? if so, why then -- on so many talk pages -- do the personalities of you users/writers/archivists take precedence over the 'facts?

i'm no historian or philosopher, but stirner speaks to me in a direct and clarified way other thinkers don't...when i read the article here, or similar work in hard-copy encyclopedia, i really want to see the facts of his life, and an explanation of his thought

these little wars between this wiki-user and that, and the constant revision of an entry that -- it seems to me -- ought to be cut and dry as to presentation (i'm not interested in what YOU the writer of the article think, only in the information about the man and his work) makes the wiki-experience a little hard to take sometimes

rather than acting as reporters, offering fair presentation and objectivity, often I find in my meanderings -- in this article and many others -- you all engaged in turf wars

example: if hegel influenced stirner, shouldn't this be confirmed, cited, and included? and if not, then the damn discussion/fight dropped? for debate to go on and on seems pointless...the point of contention is not a secret of the universe, after all

i understand passion and investment...i don't get grandstanding and self-aggrandizement --henry quirk (signal_to_noise@hotmail.com)

well put.Itafroma 15:49, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia has been growing a lot since we started building this article. I agree we need to cite sources - please help out! But when we first started to build this page from nothing, it was not the first thing that came to mind - it was getting an article in the first place !
The problem with "facts" in the case of Stirner's life is that so little is known or verified about his life. We have one biography with as scarce information as you can get, written by John Henry Mackay, collecting the pieces of information left about the turn of the 20th century, almost 50 years after Stirner died. This leaves ample room for discussion - and the most obscure sources are sought after and grasped with gratitude, even though historically it's all not very solid (see the Nietszche debate somewhere above).
The problem with facts concerning Stirner's thinking are almost similar, although we do have his own texts to refer to - and an academic body of texts has clearly begun to be built up. But Stirner's writing leaves much room for interpretation. I read him quite clearly too and have tried to convey this in the article (although much has been totally muddled up since then) - I guess the next man's reading is not quite the same as mine. --MortenB 15:49, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
PS. Just to add, that while this article is quite messed up, I am very happy to see the revival of interest in the subject of the page - which is probably why the article has become so unstructured. I often tend to think of the most messy articles of Wikipedia as the most liveliest - because it's where people share ideas and get more knowledgeable on things they didn't know and didn't know they needed to know - even while presentation sucks ;-) --MortenB 16:11, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
(((again: forgive my lack of formatting...i'm merely a reader, not a user or archiver.)))
(((citation is important, but in certain cases (like stirner's) it's less so. why? because stirner's work makes the man 'of interest', and -- in a very real way -- is all anyone really needs to know of him. as morten points out below, the facts of stirner's life are sketchy at best, so the way the piece is currently structured (given over to mostly an overview of his thought) works, i think. i believe even stirner would agree.)))
(((frankly: i don't see any room for interpretation in 'the ego and its own'. stirner -- if one takes into account the culture he was immersed in, the difficulties of translation, and the man's hyperbolic style -- is clear as glass. he says exactly what he means to. there's no ambiguity to the work. which makes it all the more amazing when i find socialists claiming him as one of their own...all because of a wild, self-serving, misinterpretation of 'the union of egoists'. slightly more understandable are those who try to adapt stirner's ideas, assimilate them into some other philosophy. of course, the assimilation fails. 'the ego and its own' is exactly like stirner's unique one: irreducible and indescribable. to play at dissecting the work, pulling at its pieces and parts, is akin to pulling at a cadaver and expecting somehow to find the soul.)))
(((i'm glad the article has a bit of flux to it...life is not a staid exercise in stasis...that stirner and his work still move folks is a good thing...even if they move in all the wrong directions. h.quirk (signal_to_noise@hotmail.com) )))
(((morten wrote: 'Stirner would not be able to reach his conclusion without Hegel.' i disagree...certainly the structure of the book owes enormously to hegel and his work, but the structure is 'not' the idea...the structure is just a framework over which stirner stretched his book, a model for communicating to others what -- at the time (and apparently also today) -- is a difficult reality. stirner could have written his book in any number of ways but choose one most appropriate for the time, the culture, and for his anticipated critics. i believe stirner would have to come to his conclusions as an act of necessity and sanity.)))
(((forgive my ungainly intrusions...no offense intended. h.quirk)))
Just to comment on that last one of your comments :-) Language and communication itself is about what can be said to others, which they will understand in relation to some common body of reference, in arguments, texts, cultural meanings etc. In that sense, we cannot communicate ideas without referring to "known" things.
Stirner was writing on basis of Hegel, much as any man is dependant on what has been thought and written before him in history. If one sees the history of philosophy as a long series of arguments, which is inspired and argues with it's own history along the way (as Stirner just as much as anyone does), then what has been thought previously has the capability to open or close certain paths of thinking, or to allow pursuit of different lines of arguments.
Hegel opened a certain path - Stirner followed it to its conclusion, demolishing it along the way. He couldn't have done this without Hegel. --MortenB 00:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Just to comment on that last one of your comments :-) Language and communication itself is about what can be said to others, which they will understand in relation to some common body of reference, in arguments, texts, cultural meanings etc. In that sense, we cannot communicate ideas without referring to "known" things.
(((agreed: but didn't stirner himself advance a new definition, a new understanding? something standing outside of the common body? isn't this the way it always happens? if not, then knowledge would stagnate as it fed off itself, consumed in ever-tightening circles of self-reference...always, it is the one who moves back to the root and then out again who finds the new thing, the new idea, or the new way for looking at something old)))
Stirner was writing on basis of Hegel, much as any man is dependant on what has been thought and written before him in history. If one sees the history of philosophy as a long series of arguments, which is inspired and argues with it's own history along the way (as Stirner just as much as anyone does), then what has been thought previously has the capability to open or close certain paths of thinking, or to allow pursuit of different lines of arguments.
(((agreed: i think, however, you ignore the possibility of the mutant, the new thing, the revelation with one foot in the old, informed by the old, but so distinct from the old as to be unrelated in any way...for the most part, yes, things are an incremental adding on, adding to, and refining...but, sometimes, rarely, the novel comes to be and reason is hard-pressed to trace the lineage)))
Hegel opened a certain path - Stirner followed it to its conclusion, demolishing it along the way. He couldn't have done this without Hegel. --MortenB 00:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
(((again: stirner's idea, while shaped by the line of argument, stands apart from it...only the structure of the book owes to (and stands in reaction to) hegel...if hegel had never existed, if stirner had never met the man (or read the man), i believe he (or someone very much of the same mind) would have written something equally 'real' but with an entirely different framework...how do i know this?)))
(((i first encountered 'the ego and his own' as a young man...i labored through it, not because stirner introduced me to something new, but because he formally validated what had been working at me, in me, for years before...before i ever heard of anarchism or egoism, i felt them moving around my head...stirner merely gave a name, a structure, to what i already intuited)))
(((hegel provided the blueprint (for the framework) but stirner's choices of presentation are not the idea itself)))
(((if still doubtful: sit down with pen and paper and write a summary of the book, of the idea in the book, leaving out details of culture and 'philosophy'...does this idea not stand true and alone? does it require the support of a history, or argument? no, it doesn't)))
(((i concede the possibility of what you say being true...i merely say it didn't 'have' to be this way...again: i believe stirner would have to come to his conclusions as an act of necessity and sanity h.quirk)))
Henry, you wrote : "i first encountered 'the ego and his own' as a young man...i labored through it, not because stirner introduced me to something new, but because he formally validated what had been working at me, in me, for years before...before i ever heard of anarchism or egoism, i felt them moving around my head...stirner merely gave a name, a structure, to what i already intuited"
I can follow you wholeheartedly in this. Stirner hit precisely the same chord in me, and it's part of what made reading his book such a wonderful, life-embracing exercise to me. There's an intuitive element there, which is played upon in much of Stirner's prose. Still I can see that others relate to the book at quite different levels, and the book doesn't seem to strike the same chords in everyone, so when we need to discuss it, we some other ground for it.
You're raising a key point with your last question. I do not believe we can just "leave out details of culture", philosophy or history. Ideas do not live alone - they are thought, formulated and spoken by men who live under historical circumstances. We are able to change our world and our lives. Any idea with a demand for my attention "on its own" is what Stirner calls a 'fixed idea'. I don't believe in such ideals. So in that sense, no, no ideas stand true and alone to me, not even Stirner's, how clearly thought they may be or seem. Ideas are always rooted in someone, living somewhere, thinking them for particular reasons, often wanting something. It's not that we "need" a rationale or argument for our own existance - but we're fundamentally historical beings. There's no "ought" in seeing human existance as historical, on the contrary. History is not, although this is the common misconception, something unchangeable and categorical, which others have written for us. The past doesn't exist anymore, it only lives, because we seek to reconstruct it. It is written all over and over again, in as many ways as there are people. It should never be allowed to become something which dictates our lives or direction. We are the masters of our histories, as well as our futures.
Henry, you wrote : "i believe stirner would have to come to his conclusions as an act of necessity and sanity". I disagree, and I have to disagree, as what you're doing is naturalizing his conclusions, making his thinking something which would have almost come by itself. Yet for quite a long time, thinking like Stirner's was heretical of the worst kind. It took quite a few bloody religious wars to establish that break with the Catholic Church, which gave way to modern thinking in this sense - and even a few hundred years of protestant monarchies too. Still today, what Stirner called egoism, is attributed with the worst of crimes and heresy by most people, I would believe. It matters what we do, what we think, and therefore we have to be particular, historical and conscious of what we do, what we think, and why we do and think in particular ways. I'm sure you won't disagree. What I'm protesting is what your statement embodies, in taking away what is particular to Stirner, and ascribing it some kind of "naturalness". Interestingly enough, Stirner too has to use similar language such as "be your natural selves again" etc. in order to try and come near his conclusions, but his conclusions clearly lie beyond language, beyond nature, all that which is pre-described. --MortenB 03:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
PS. Tidied up the thread a bit. It was getting awfully confusing to find out who said what!

(((having spent a few months attending to family matters -- and reading and re-reading much of what is under discussion here -- i amend myself: hegel's influence cannot be denied)))

(((without the antagonism of hegel's view, stirner would never have written 'the ego and its own'...would never have formalized (to the extent his ideas 'are' formalized) egoism)))

(((this is not to say, stirner -- perhaps in some other way, some other incarnation -- would not have contributed something equally startling (might-have-beens are, of course, useless, so i won't dwell on them...but neither will i concede them!)...but: certainly, the persona of max stirner and 'the ego and its own' owe much to hegel, if only for standing as someone and something to rail against --h.quirk signal_to_noise@hotmail.com)))

EXISTENTIALISM AND STIRNER’S SELF

Max Stirner has a lot in common with the existentialists, what with them both being individualists. I believe, however, that the one concept required to be classified as an existentialist is that existence precedes essence.

I believe that the following quote proves Max Stirner can be fit into this category, along with the fact that, like nearly all existentialists, Stirner hated to be labelled; so I’m sure he would not be impressed with my argument.

“If God, if mankind, as you affirm, have substance enough in themselves to be all in all to themselves, then I feel that I shall still less lack that, and that I shall have no complaint to make of my "emptiness." I am not nothing in the sense of emptiness, but I am the creative nothing, the nothing out of which I myself as creator create everything.”

This creative nothing, this being your creation and your creator, is nothing more than ‘existence precedes essence’ dressed up in an alternative garment. This is why I think that it is important to stress this interesting comparison in the subsection of the article ‘2.3 The Self’. --Josh Passmore

The False Principle

According to http://www.marxists.org/glossary/periodicals/r/h.htm#rz, Marx became _editor_ of the Rheinische Zeitung in October 1842, 6 months after the publication of Stirner's False Principle article. This article notes Marx as editor at the time of publication, and refers to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Is this referencing accurate? Thank you. --FrenchieAlexandre

The Macmillan encyclopedia certainly said that, but with conflicting sources i don't know which one i would trust. I'll look for other references and state any on this page to try and clear it up.Itafroma 17:40, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps all that needs clarification is the difference between editing something and being editor of something. This would accomodate both interpretations. FrenchieAlexandre

Sentence/Grammar

"The denial of absolute truth is rooted in Stirner's the "nothingness" of the self Stirner presents a detached life ..."

What is this supposed to mean? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 68.179.160.67 (talk) 04:35, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

Byronic Oil-Painting

Does anybody have a link where I can see this supposed portrait of Max Stirner? 'Cuz I can't find it anywhere on google.

This is very puzzling I can find no truth to the claim that such a painting exists. It must have been a relatively recen discovery if it exists atall as Mackay certainly would have mentioned it. There was a sketch of his face made after his death, but this was burnt in a fire. I wouldn't see muh point in lieing about such a thing but unfortunately the person who made the claim didn't leav any sources and has no username.Itafroma (talk) 18:00, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the claim that a "Byronic" portrait exists was made at 14:23, 19 December 2007, by 222.123.58.67. This appears to be the only contribution made by this user from this IP address. An IP search indicates an ISP in Bangkok, Thailand, for whatever this is worth. I myself have been able to find no reference to any such portrait. While this is not to say that such a portrait is an impossibility, it does suggest that this passage should be removed because it is not verifiable. I have been inclined to leave the passage in place in order to see if it would lead to a citation being supplied and further information coming to light. However, almost a year has passed and no citation seems to be forthcoming for the claimed portrait, or the others 'hinted' at in the edit summary. I am therefore removing the passage. --Picatrix (talk) 12:49, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Psychological Evaluation of History

It is evident that in The Ego and Its Own Stirner sets forth a view of history that draws a parallel between individual development and collective development (leaving aside the question of whether or not, strictly speaking, Stirner recognizes a 'collective' as having any real existence). This is clear from the comparison of an individual's development (in the section "A human life") with collective development (in the section "Men of the old time and the new"). Can anyone tell me whether or not this approach first appears in Stirner's work? If not, I would be very interested to hear whether or not a "first appearance" of this approach in print can be established. I should emphasize that I am not here looking for the origin of 'Psychohistory' in the sense that psychological motivations exist in historical events. I am specifically looking for the origin of the idea that human societies collectively 'recapitulate' stages of individual psychological development. I ask because if this idea is one original to Stirner it is worth noting in the article, provided supporting documentation can be found. Thanks in advance. Picatrix (talk) 15:56, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Possible Influence on Nietzsche

I've added the Wp:Or tags to this section. The point being not whether this "influence" is real or not, only that the article needs reliable third party publication sources to back the claim up. Otherwise, it is a candidate for deletion. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 00:42, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

The tags were removed because additional citations have been provided.

The reply originally posted here can be found on the Nietzsche article discussion page in the section "Stirner, again...". It was removed from this location at the request of one editor who was concerned about redundancy. --Picatrix (talk) 12:32, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

In logical debate, the burden of proof is always upon the person who makes the positive assertion. Anyone who says that Stirner influenced Nietzsche must provide definite proof of that assertion. Since Nietzsche never mentioned Stirner at all, it must be assumed that he never read Stirner's book. Nietzsche read Lange's book, though, and therefore would know that Stirner rejected anything that claimed to be more important that "the individual and his caprice." This is all that we can assume that Nietzsche knew about Stirner. That short sentence may have had an enormous influence on Nietzsche, but it is not likely that it did.Lestrade (talk) 19:57, 18 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

I'm not really clear on what you intend here. Is this an editorial recommendation? If so, please be more clear. If not, the talk page guidelines indicate "article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views." --Picatrix (talk) 23:22, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

What I intend here is to say that the section regarding Stirner's influence on Nietzsche is invalid and should be deleted for the above–mentioned reason. I will delete it if there is no objection.Lestrade (talk) 17:23, 19 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
It's discussing the fact that the idea exists, not trying to prove that it is true or valid. Zazaban (talk) 21:13, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

I object entirely to the idea of removing the section. There is no basis for this removal. Wikipedia content guidelines stipulate that material should be notable, verifiable, not original research, and presented with a neutral point of view. The material in this section meets all of the above criteria. I am not sure what saying that a section is "invalid" means. If you mean 'having no legal force' or 'insufficient to meet legal standards' there is obviously no application here. If you mean to say that the argument is invalid (in the sense that the term is used in logic, for example), once again there is no application here, as the section makes no argument for any thing at all, least of all that "Nietzsche knew about Stirner". Instead the section establishes (with sufficient citations from academic sources) that various theories of possible influence exist. These theories are part of more than a century of attested discussion of this question in an academic context. Given that the debate over possible influence is reflected in a significant number of books and articles in a variety of languages, both the historical debate itself and the theories that have been generated in its course are notable. The content of the section is verifiable by checking the citations provided. None of the writing in the section has been tagged as original research, because it is not. The material in the section is presented with a neutral point of view indicating a variety of perspectives, and no claim for or against influence is made.

For your part you suggest that the section is 'invalid' because of the "aforementioned reason" which one can only assume is this bit from your earlier posting: "In logical debate, the burden of proof is always upon the person who makes the positive assertion. Anyone who says that Stirner influenced Nietzsche must provide definite proof of that assertion." I have to say I'm somewhat sceptical of the value of your editorial input in this specific case. In no place in the entire section has the claim been made that Stirner influenced Nietzsche. Anyone who has actually read the section currently under discussion has seen this. Finally, this is not a "logical debate". Beyond our basic responsibility to read content before making any editorial decision, we are asked not to argue for or against any particular theory, only to make sure that content is notable, verifiable, not original research, and presented with a neutral point of view. --Picatrix (talk) 03:13, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

We know that Nietzsche read Lange's book. It is probable, therefore that he read the following passage: "Stirner went so far in his notorious work, Der Einzige und Sein Eigenthum (1845), as to reject all moral ideas. Everything that in any way, whether it be external force, belief, or mere idea, places itself above the individual and his caprice, Stirner rejects as a hateful limitation of himself. What a pity that to this book — the extremest that we know anywhere — a second positive part was not added. It would have been easier than in the case of Schelling's philosophy; for out of the unlimited Ego I can again beget every kind of Idealism as my will and my idea. Stirner lays so much stress upon the will, in fact, that it appears as the root force of human nature. It may remind us of Schopenhauer." This is all that Lange had to say about Stirner. That is all that we can assume that Nietzsche read about Stirner. Nietzsche's interest would have been piqued by the reference to Schopenhauer, because Nietzsche had a lifelong obsession with the writings of that philosopher. We do not know of any other exposure that Nietzsche might have had to Stirner's writings. The whole section on Nietzsche's influence on Stirner is speculation. If it is to be retained, then it should be clearly described as being mere speculation and guesswork. Lestrade (talk) 13:43, 20 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
It seems that your position is not much different from the one stated in the debated section: "It is certain that Nietzsche read about Stirner's most important book The Ego and Its Own (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum), which was mentioned in Lange's History of Materialism and Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious, both of which Nietzsche knew well. However, there is no irrefutable indication that he actually read it, as no mention of Stirner is known to exist anywhere in Nietzsche's publications, papers or correspondence.", and it seems that the section itself throughout makes it clear that any proven influence on Nietzsche by Stirner is purely speculative. It even concludes with what one could almost interpret as support for the contemporary academic consensus that no direct influence occurred ("continues to attract a significant minority" and the following sentences describing the "significant problems" connected with the influence-theory). I really cannot see what your problem with the section is. The purpose of this section, as correctly stated by Picatrix, is not to convince readers of a possible influence on Nietzsche by Stirner or not, but to show that a serious debate about this has been going on for 100 years, and what the current status of that debate is. --Saddhiyama (talk) 14:24, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Lestrade, since it seems you did not bother to read the original passage I'm not sure if there is any use in discussing this with you further. I am willing to assume good faith and try, however. First of all, before making categorical statements it is best to familiarize yourself with existing research. The mention in Lange is not the only passage regarding Stirner that Nietzsche certainly read.

"This possibility has been mentioned before, but the only known secondary source that Nietzsche read has been F. A. Lange’s Geschichte des Materialismus (1866) and his account seems insufficient for a more extensive knowledge of Stirner, since it covers only a brief paragraph. However, Nietzsche also read other, more extensive accounts of Stirner. I have found Stirner discussed in three other books Nietzsche read, and it seems likely that others also exist." (Thomas H. Brobjer, "Philologica: A Possible Solution to the Stirner-Nietzsche Question", in The Journal of Nietzsche Studies - Issue 25, Spring 2003, pp. 109-114)

Even Brobjer's claim (that previously the only known secondary source on Stirner that Nietzsche read was Lange) is inaccurate. It has been known for more than a century that he also read about Stirner in (at least) one work by von Hartmann. Of course, this is mentioned (and cited) in the section you wish to delete, but it is again apparent that you have not read it. Furthermore, no Wikipedia guideline I am aware of prohibits the inclusion of published speculation by others (as distinct from speculation by editors) so long as it is notable and verifiable. For example, any theory is essentially speculation. And yet Wikipedia does (and indeed should) include discussion of a wide variety of theories in various academic disciplines. All of these theories are 'speculation' by definition.

Finally, you started out by saying that the section should be removed because it is 'invalid' (whatever this means). Now you say it should be removed because it is 'speculation'. When an editor constantly changes his or her justification for why content should be removed, only the Wikipedia guideline requiring that we assume good faith prevents us from imagining that the editor in question wants to remove the content for no other reason than that he or she doesn't happen to like it. As we all realize, this is not sufficient justification for deletion. --Picatrix (talk) 15:36, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Engels's sketch

Engels's portrait of Stirner shows him with small eyeglasses, Germanic brush haircut, and no ears. It seems that ears, with those mysterious cartilaginous, labyrinthine curves and windings, passed Engels's understanding. The mind that created Communism had no patience for such an annoyingly complicated organ.Lestrade (talk) 13:28, 24 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

WP:FORUM Zazaban (talk) 20:17, 24 November 2008 (UTC)