Get access




Alexander Kojève linked two major events that occurred in October of 1806: the first political, Napoleon's victory at Jena; the second philosophical, Hegel's completion of The Phenomenology of Mind. Kojève held these events to be complementary, both completing the initial formation and expression of ‘modernity’. This thesis was accepted by Leo Strauss and later by Strauss' disciple Francis Fukayama. The latter's two works The End of History and The Last Man, both ‘neo-conservative’ in character, have exercised a powerful influence on the policies of the United States Department of State. Although optimistic in regarding the global advance of democratic societies as the end of history, both Kojève and Fukayama nevertheless conclude that this advance will stop short of its proper end with the appearance of a morally vapid Nietzschean ‘Last Man’. This essay connects the birth of Stirner to the events of 1806; Stirner set his own ‘cause’ before all external ideals or romantic programs, such as a striving to be a Nietzschen Übermensch or joining a revolution of Marxian ‘Lumpen’. Following the signals of both Hegelianism and democratic politics, Stirner can be considered, and would be pleased to present himself, as the ‘Last Man’.