Albert Camus (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
There are various paradoxical elements in Camus’s approach tophilosophy. In his book-length essay, The Myth of Sisyphus,Camus presents a philosophy that contests philosophy itself. Thisessay belongs squarely in the philosophical tradition ofexistentialism but Camus denied being an existentialist. Both TheMyth of Sisyphus and his other philosophical work, TheRebel, are systematically skeptical of conclusions about themeaning of life, yet both works assert objectively valid answers tokey questions about how to live. Though Camus seemed modest whendescribing his intellectual ambitions, he was confident enough as aphilosopher to articulate not only his own philosophy but also acritique of religion and a fundamental critique of modernity. Whilerejecting the very idea of a philosophical system, Camus constructedhis own original edifice of ideas around the key terms of absurdityand rebellion, aiming to resolve the life-or-death issues thatmotivated him.
Free Allegory of the Cave Essays and Papers
After completing Nuptials, Camus began to work on a plannedtriptych on the Absurd: a novel, which became The Stranger, aphilosophical essay, eventually titled The Myth of Sisyphus,and a play, Caligula. These were completed and sent off fromAlgeria to the Paris publisher in September 1941. Although Camus wouldhave preferred to see them appear together, even in a single volume,the publisher for both commercial reasons and because of the papershortage caused by war and occupation, released The Strangerin June 1942 and The Myth of Sisyphus in October. Camus keptworking on the play, which finally appeared in book form two yearslater (Lottman, 264–67).
In The Rebel, a complex and sprawling essay in philosophy,the history of ideas and literary movements, political philosophy, andeven aesthetics, Camus extends the ideas he asserted inNuptials and developed in The Myth of Sisyphus: thehuman condition is inherently frustrating, but we betray ourselves andsolicit catastrophe by seeking religious solutions to its limitations.“The rebel obstinately confronts a world condemned to death andthe impenetrable obscurity of the human condition with his demand forlife and absolute clarity. He is seeking, without knowing it, amoral philosophy or a religion” (R, 101). Ouralternatives are to accept the fact that we are living in a Godlessuniverse—or to become a revolutionary, who, like the religiousbeliever committed to the abstract triumph of justice in the future,refuses to live in the present.