Politics of the Ego: Stirner’s Critique of Liberalism

Newman, Saul. 2002. Politics of the Ego: Stirner’s Critique of Liberalism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 5(3), pp. 1-26. ISSN 1369-8230 [Article]

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The aim of this essay is to Max Stirner's critique of liberalism and to show the ways in which his rejection of essential identities and universal rational structures allows us to reflect upon the limits and epistemological conditions of liberal political theory. Through his rejection of Feuerbachian humanism, Stirner unmasked the obscurantism and domination behind modern secular political systems like liberalism, which was still trapped in idealist abstractions and universal assumptions derived from Christianity. He showed that liberalism, which is founded on the idea of the autonomous and rational individual, is actually a denial of individual difference and singularity and a mediation and disciplining of subjectivity through the structures of state authority. Moreover, Stirner's extreme individualism, while problematic in many respects, nevertheless points to the possibility of a reformulation of liberalism in terms of a contemporary politics of singularity and difference.

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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2015 14:42

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21

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