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Abstract

In 1844 Max Stirner published The Ego and Its Own, a book doomed to cause uproar, but which failed to seriously antagonize the authorities. No reservations about its printing were voiced, mainly because it was judged that the book contained ideas so absurd as to pose no threat to the public order. K. Marx and F. Engels took exception and criticized The Ego mercilessly, making fun of Stirner’s theoretical ideas in their German Ideology. The critique is much longer than the book itself and it seems rather puzzling that so much space was devoted to an undeserving piece of work. One cannot help but wonder why that seemingly worthless book was made an object of a lengthy analysis. I try to disguise their motives and show why Marx and Engels felt threatened by the utopian and absurd figure of Stirner’s Ego. Against this background I describe Marx’s ideas on man and society.
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