The Egoism Of Max Stirner Essay Research — страница 2

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this constitutes being a “simple mortal” then so be it, but that it is a “resigned attitude” is another matter. Benedict Lachmann and Herbert StourzhLachmann’s and Stourzh’s TWO ESSAYS ON EGOISM provide a stimulating and instructive introduction to Stirner’s ideas. Although both authors give a good summary of his egoism they differ sufficiently in their approach to allow the reader to enjoy adjudicating between them. Lachmann’s essay PROTAGORAS – NIETZSCHE – STIRNER traces the development of relativist thinking as exemplified in the three philosophers of its title. Protagoras is the originator of relativism with his dictum “Man (the individual) is the measure of all things”. This in turn is taken up by Stirner and Nietzsche. Of the two, however, Stirner is

by far the most consistent and for this reason Lachmann places him after Nietzsche in his account. For him Stirner surpasses Nietzsche by bringing Protagorean relativism to its logical conclusion in conscious egoism – the fulfilment of one’s own will. In fact, he views Nietzsche as markedly inferior to Stirner both in respect to his style and the clarity of his thinking. “In contrast to Nietzsche’s work,” he writes, THE EGO AND ITS OWN “is written in a clear, precise form and language, though it avoids the pitfalls of a dry academic style. Its sharpness, clarity and passion make the book truly shattering and overwhelming.” Unlike Nietzsche’s, Stirner’s philosophy does not lead to the replacement of one religious “spook” by another, the substitution of the

“Superman” for the Christian “God”. On the contrary, it makes “the individual’s interests the centre of the world.”Intelligent, lucid and well-conceived, Lachmann’s essay throws new light on Stirner’s ideas. Its companion essay, Stourzh’s MAX STIRNER’S PHILOSOPHY OF THE EGO is evidently the work of a theist, but it is nonetheless sympathetic to Stirnerian egoism. Stourzh states that one of his aims in writing it “is beyond the categories of master and slave to foster an intellectual and spiritual stand-point different from the stand-point prescribed by the prophets of mass thinking, the dogmatists of socialism, who conceive of the individual only as an insignificant part of the whole, as a number or mere addenda of the group.”Stourzh draws a valuable

distinction between the “imperative” approach of the moralist and the “indicative” approach of Stirner towards human behaviour. He also gives an informative outline of the critical reaction to Stirner of such philosophers as Ludwig Feuerbach, Kuno Fischer and Eduard von Hartman. Stourzh mars his interpretation, however, by making the nonsensical claim that Stirner’s egoism “need in no sense mean the destruction of the divine mystery itself.” And in line with his desire to preserve the “sacredness” of this “divine mystery” he at times patently seeks to “sweeten” Stirner by avoiding certain of his most challenging remarks. References:Camus, Albert: THE REBEL: AN ESSAY ON MAN IN REVOLT. Knopf, New York. 1961Fleischmann, Eugene: THE ROLE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN

PRE-REVOLUTIONARY SOCIETY: STIRNER, MARX AND HEGEL in HEGEL’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. Cambridge University Press, London. 1971Lachmann, Benedict and Stourzh, Herbert: TWO ESSAYS ON EGOISM. To be published by The Mackay Society, New York.