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Lecture

Camus - The Myth of Sysyphus

3 Pages
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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 1100
Professor
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 conduct” 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/defini
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