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How does Max Stirner’s egoism compare to Objectivism?

How does Max Stirner’s egoism compare to Objectivism?

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July 10, 2023

Question: How does Max Stirner’s egoism compare to Objectivism? 

Answer: Well, Objectivism holds that individuals’ lives are their own, that their self-responsibility is to use their reason to formulate their values and a strategy for achieving them. Socially, Objectivism holds with the trader principle that rational individuals can interact voluntarily to mutual benefit, and that should be the norm in society. By contrast, Stirner is an anti-rationalist. He holds that one’s reason is a subjective, constraining capacity that we have that holds back one’s true self-development. Consequently, in Stirner’s account, one has to take an adversarial stance not only against society with all of its arbitrary rules and restrictions, but also against one’s own reason and emotions very often, which he sees as undermining true development. He’s an anarchist egoist in contrast to Rand’s objectivist egoism.

Stephen Hicks Ph.D.
About the author:
Stephen Hicks Ph.D.

Stephen R. C. Hicks, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Rockford University, Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship, and Senior Scholar at The Atlas Society.

He is author of The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2010),  Entrepreneurial Living (CEEF, 2016), Liberalism Pro and Con (Connor Court, 2020), Art: Modern, Postmodern, and Beyond (with Michael Newberry, 2021) and Eight Philosophies of Education (2022). He has published in Business Ethics Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics, and The Wall Street Journal. His writings have been translated into 20 languages.

He has been Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Visiting Fellow at the Social Philosophy & Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, Visiting Professor at the University of Kasimir the Great, Poland, Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College of Oxford University, England, and Visiting Professor at Jagiellonian University, Poland.

His B.A. and M.A. degrees are from the University of Guelph, Canada. His Ph.D. in Philosophy is from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

In 2010, he won his university’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

His Open College podcast series is published by Possibly Correct Productions, Toronto. His video lectures and interviews are online at CEE Video Channel, and his website is StephenHicks.org.  


Instagram Takeover Questions:

Every week we solicit questions from our 100K followers on Instagram (a social media platform popular with young people. Once a month we feature Stephen Hicks' answers to select questions, transcripts below:


Also several articles, selected for likely interest to Objectivist audiences:

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