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York University
PHIL 1100
Henry Jackman

2. "Nothing Matters" In spit of his ultimately tough minded stance, Camus can seem like a sympathizer with what James refers to as a "sick soul", taking the problem of life's absurdity very seriously. He eventually overcomes it, but it is seen as a problem that could lead one to end one's life. As Camus put it: By contrast, Hare has the classically 'healthy minded' attitude towards the problem of absurdity. In particular, he doesn't seem to see a problem here at all, and he considers anyone who is bothered by it to suffer from some kind of confusion. He discusses a visitor of his who, in virtue of reading Camus, becomes depressed and convinced that 'nothing matters'. Hare takes such a worry to be based upon a misunderstanding of what we mean when we say that something matters. when somebody says that something matters or does not matter, we want to know whose concern is being expressed or otherwise referred to. If the function of the expression "matters" is to express concern, and if concern is always somebody's concern, we can always ask, when it is said that something matters or does not matter, "Whose concern?"... Thus we say, "It doesn't matter to him." If we said "It doesn't matter," and left out the words "to him," it could be assumed in ordinary speech, in the absence of any indication to the contrary, that the speaker was expressing his own unconcern. (Hare, pp.1-2) If claims that things matter are always about something's mattering to someone, then the claim that "nothing matters" we must be making a claim either about ourselves or someone else. If we are making a claim about ourselves, we are probably saying something false: function of matter is to express concern. Mattering is not something that things do. Something matters is like saying something chatters, john matters to bill is not like john chatters to bill, mattering says nothing about john but saying that bill cares about john. Worrying that nothing matters involves thinking that mattering works like chatters, as if mattering is something things could do or not do. there may be people who can sincerely say that very little matters to them, or even almost nothing. We should say that they are psychologically abnormal. But for the majority of us to become like this is a contingency so remote as to excite neither fear nor attraction; we just are not made like that. We are creatures who feel concern for things – creatures who think one course of action better than another and act accordingly. (Hare, p.3) The claim would be false of most people, and if there were some person for whom nothing mattere
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