Philosophy of Albert Camus

Essay by blaircarstensUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2004

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Albert Camus earned a worldwide reputation as a novelist and essayist and won the Noble Prize for literature in 1957. Through 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 concluded 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 provides a basis for human values for our personal ideals and for our judgments of right and wrong." He maintained that suicide could not 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".

Although, often considered an existentialist, Camus had his own way of thinking and often disagreed with many existentialist thinkers. Camus was a brilliant writer as well as a philosopher and although complicated his views will always be inspiration for further thought.