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Ethical Egoism

6. Applied Ethical Egoism

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In this final module we look at how Stirner’s philosophy of ethical egoism might be applied to our own lives. In particular, we focus on (i) Stirner’s philosophy of ‘ownness’, encompassing ideas of freedom and self-mastery (ii) Stirner’s promotion of a ‘union of egoists’: a collection of self-interested individuals coming together in pursuit of their own interests, and (iii) Stirner’s idea of the insurrection as the political expression of his philosophy of egoism, and his distinction between the insurrection and the revolution.


In this course Professor Saul Newman (Goldsmiths University) explores ethical egoism: the normative theory which claims that moral actions ought to be motivated by self-interest. In the first module we introduce ethical egoism, and distinguish egoism from other normative and descriptive theories. Then, we examine the contrast between psychological egoism and ethical egoism, and look at the key proponents of these respective positions. In the third module, we introduce Max Stirner: the 19th century German philosopher, and author of The Ego and Its Own. We then move on to look at Stirner’s philosophy of egoism, and the key themes in his major work The Ego and Its Own. In the fifth module, we raise some challenges to ethical egoism, and explore Stirner’s responses to these challenges. Finally, we turn our attention to the application of ethical egoism, and how egoism might manifest itself both in individual and political life.


Saul Newman is Professor of Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests include sovereignty, political theology, democracy and post-secularism, autonomy and freedom, human rights and statelessness. He has written widely on the nineteenth century German thinker Max Stirner, and published the first ever edited collection on Stirner’s thought in the English language. His most recent publications include Political Theology: A Critical Introduction (2018) and Postanarchism 2015

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APA style

Newman, S. (2022, February 11). Ethical Egoism - Applied Ethical Egoism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Newman, S. "Ethical Egoism – Applied Ethical Egoism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Feb 2022,

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