Born on November 7, 1913 in Mandoui, Algeria, Albert Camus earned a
worldwide reputation as a novelist and essayist and won the Nobel Prize for literature in
1957. Though his writings, and in some measure against his will, he became the leading
moral voice of his generation during the 1950's. Camus died at the height of his fame, in
an automobile accident near Sens, France on January 4, 1960.
Camus's deepest philosophical interests were in Western philosophy, among them
Socrates, Pascal, Spinoza, and Nietsche. His interest in philosophy was almost
exclusively moral in character. Camus came to the conclusion that none of the
speculative systems of the past could provide and positive guidance for human life or any
guarantee of the validity of human value. Camus also concluded that suicide is the only
serious philosophical problem. He asks whether it makes any sense to go on living once
the meaninglessness of human life is fully understood.
Camus referred to this meaninglessness as the "absurdity" of life. He believed
that this "absurdity" is the "failure of the world to satisfy the human demand that it
provide a basis for human values-for our personal ideals and for our judgments of right
and wrong." He maintained that suicide cannot be regarded as an adequate response to
the "experience of absurdity." He says that suicide is an admission of incapacity, and
such an admission is inconsistent with that human pride to which Camus openly appeals.
Camus states, "there is nothing equal to the spectacle of human pride."
Furthermore, Camus also dealt with the topic of revolution in his essay The
Rebel. Camus rejected what he calls "metaphysical revolt," which he sees as a "radical
refusal of the human condition as such," resulting either in suicide or in a "demonic
attempt to remake the world...