Max Stirner's Unmensch: The primacy of the individual
Nelson, John William
Master of Arts
As the last of the Young Hegelians, Max Stirner can be seen as continuing their general assault upon the prevailing social institutions and intellectual traditions of the German Vormarz. Yet the philosophy represented by Stirner distinguishes itself by carrying through Hegel's philosophical system to a conclusion which is antithetical to Hegelianism itself. Stirner extolls the inherently unique and particular human being, which finds itself eclipsed in the thought of Hegel. In opposition to the concept of Geist (Hegel's expression for what he believed to be an existing universal consciousness), Stirner presents a description of the Unmensch, the concrete and transitory individual which is inseparable from its own unique consciousness.