Johann Kaspar Schmidt (October 25, 1806 – June 26, 1856), better known as Max Stirner, was a German philosopher. He is often seen as one of the forerunners of nihilism, existentialism, psychoanalytic theory, postmodernism, and individualist anarchism. Stirner's main work is The Ego and Its Own, also known as The Ego and His Own (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum in German, which translates literally as The Individual and His Property). This work was first published in 1845 in Leipzig, and has since appeared in
Stirner was born in Bayreuth, Bavaria. What little is known of his life is mostly due to the Scottish-born German writer John Henry Mackay, who wrote a biography of Stirner (Max Stirner – sein Leben und sein Werk), published in German in 1898 (enlarged 1910, 1914), and translated into English in 2005.