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3

PerfectSociety wrote

I'm still contemplating much of what you wrote. I do have a question for you at this time, however:

It should also be pointed out that Stirner, the father of Egoism, was a Young Hegelian and would be considered an idealist, as his thought stems from the supremacy of the individual "ego." It's an abstract concept which places it on the idealist side of the divide. This is not meant to be attacking in any way, this is just how most of western philosophy views Stirner's ideas.

But do you consider Stirner's Egoism to have anything to do with metaphysics? If not, I have trouble seeing how it is necessarily Idealist. My understanding is that Idealism and Materialism are each metaphysical positions to take. If we had to classify Stirner's Egoism, we could classify it under metaethics. But I don't quite see how it has anything to do with metaphysics. Stirner does not seem to be saying that the Ego produces Reality. Rather, he says that there is such a thing as the Ego and that we should allow our Egos to be free and unburdened by notions like morality, religion, the nation, the law, etc... Whether the Ego is a product of Reality or vice versa does not seem to be something that Stirner takes an explicit position on.

3

Potemkin wrote

Due to the nature of Stirner's thought and argumentation style, he can be difficult to place. Indeed, John Clark and others have seen Stirner's work as "a process of egoistic enjoyment for the author." Yet, Stirner does at times make metaphysical claims that can open themselves to discussion and critique.

If you're interested in this sort of discussion on Stirner, I would highly recommend John P. Clark's essay from the 1970s called "Max Stirner's Egoism." It is a critique, but NOT a polemic, of Stirner's work.

In searching for a link for that essay, I also found an article by Jason McQuinn reviewing Clark's critique of Stirner. I haven't read this second work yet--I didn't know it existed until a moment ago-- but I think that would give you a pretty good view of both sides of the philosophical debate surrounding Stirner.

Lastly, I would argue that, as metaphysics is "the branch of philosophy which deals with the ultimate nature of things and seeks to formulate the most basic categories of explanation" (from Clark's essay), that nothing would ultimately fall outside of the metaphysical. Though Stirner may be primarily concerned with the aesthetic and the pleasurable, "being" and "nothing," material and immaterial, materialist and idealist are the basic, fundamental contradictions into which all thought falls. To me, as Stirner's thought, and the conception of ego itself, are inherently abstract, I would consider Stirner to be within the broad container category of "idealism." But this is just my understanding. I'm certainly no expert, and certainly not regarding Stirner. I always thought he had interesting things to say, though!