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PHIL 1100 Lecture Notes - Arthur Schopenhauer, Fideism, Existentialism

Course Code
PHIL 1100
Anita Lam

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Meaning of Life According to Camus’ Non-Theistic Answer
The Myth of Sisyphus -- Camus (pg 72 – 81)
Asks the fundamental question of philosophy:
Is life worth living? (Why do people commit suicide = urgent question for Camus)
Camus says that nobody dies for the ontological reason – even those
philosophers who think that life is not worth living (i.e. Schopenhauer =
hypocrite. He concludes that life is suffering but lives his life to the end!)
However, many people die “because they judge that life is not worth living”
(i.e. depression, pain, illness)
On the other hand, people are killed and will for the belief system that gives
them meaning in their life (i.e. political reasons, martyrs)
Relationship between absurdity and suicide
Camus says there is a connection between this feeling of absurdity and the
longing for death (pg. 73). For someone to commit suicide, they must have a
come to recognize/see life as absurd
Camus says: “belief in the absurdity of existence must then dictate his
Seeing life as absurd (Absurd Walls: p. 74)
The repetition and predictability of life, what Camus say is the “mechanical
routine of everyday man,” awakens consciousness and causes us to ask “WHY”
Some will return to the mechanical life, or begin to see life as absurd (definitive
awakenining). The consequence of this awakening is suicide or recovery
What is the meaning of life (Absurd Freedom: pg. 76)
Why do human’s have an existential problem
Humans have the “curse” of thinking about aims in life, thinking about the
future (vs. animals that live in the present/moment. See Swenson). This
purpose/meaning of life counters the absurd man’s belief in liberty/freedom
“to the extent to which he imagined a purpose to his life, he adapted himself to
the demands of a purpose to be achieved and became a slave of his liberty
(p. 78)
Camus acknowledges a belief in the absurd, with definitive awakening to the
absurdity of life, but does not commit suicide. Instead, he says that the absurd
teaches us that all experiences are unimportant, and urges toward the greatest
quantity of experiences. This means that we must be conscious /aware of one’s
life and experiences – to live to the maximum. (not the best living, but the
most living)
Key concepts/definitions:
Camus = existentialist, atheist
Existentialism: focus on the condition of human existence, Camus is an existentialist
fideism: don’t believe in God, but Faith (i.e. Tolstoy)
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