Volume 16, 2008
Metaphysical Egoism and its Vicissitudes
The paper discusses the metaphysical theory developed in the early eighteenth century in France by the so-called égoïstes, and explores some of its ramifications. In the eighteenth century French, the term égoïsme was used not only in the ethical sense, but also in the metaphysical sense, that is, to denote the extremist view that only oneself exists. The paper focuses primarily on Jean Brunet's work Projet d'une nouvelle métaphysique, published in 1703, which has since been lost, analyzing its fundamental principle that the egoist's thought is the cause of the existence of all creatures, as found in a contemporary review of the book. Examining Brunet's "new metaphysics" within the framework of its own epistemology, the paper shows that the egoist philosopher himself was not truly
convinced of the central tenet of his own metaphysical theory, that is, he did not sincerely believe that other minds were nothing other than modes of his thought or ideas that refer to nothing outside his mind, and argues that the very existence of Projet d'une nouvelle métaphysique in the form of a book in the mind of its author was contrary to the metaphysical theory expounded in it.