Albert Camus’ Understanding of PhilosophyJune 26, 2021
Camus’ greatest contribution to philosophy is the idea of the “absurd,” which is the result of people’s search for them in a world that offers neither clarity nor meaning. The philosopher explained this philosophy in the “The Myth of Sisyphus” and processed it in his novels such as “The Stranger” and “The Plague”.
Many writers have been interested in “Absurdism” (the philosophy of absurd, incongruity), which is generally considered together with existentialism, and has interpreted this philosophical thought trend in their own way. Camus is not the founder of “absurd”, but it has an important place in this thought movement.
Camus introduces the reader to dualism in his articles. Happiness and sorrow, life and death, darkness and light.. This is the fact that life passes in various forms and that man is mortal. In the Myth of Sisyphus, this dualism becomes a contradiction: on the one hand, we value our lives by living, and on the other, we know the fact that we will eventually perish. Living with this contradiction is the very “Absurd”. Should we kill ourselves if we know that our life is meaningless and futile? How can this tragic vicious circle be overcome? It is here that Camus establishes the concept of the absurd: man conscious of the futility of life. But Camus is not in favor of suicide, he is aware that the meaninglessness of life cannot be destroyed, but he does not hesitate to fight it.
His Views on Existentialism and Absurdism
Some critics try to categorize Camus, saying that he was an existentialist or an absurdist. While it’s debatable whether the critics’ or Camus’ own statement is correct, Camus opposes the definition of being an existentialist, stating that he doesn’t like to be labeled: “No, I’m not an existentialist. We were always surprised that Sartre and I were mentioned side by side. Sartre and I read our books before we really got to know each other. When we got to know each other, we realized how different we were. Sartre is an existentialist, the only book of ideas I have published is The Myth of Sisyphus, and it is aimed against the so-called existential philosophers.
He also says the following about whether he is an absurdist:
“The word absurd has a bad history, and I admit that it bothers me. When dealing with the absurd in The Myth of Sisyphus, I was looking for a method, not a doctrine. I was practicing systematic doubt. I started using the tabula rasa method, thinking it might build something later on.” “If we assume that nothing makes sense, we must conclude that the world is absurd. But did nothing really make sense? I never believed we could stay at this point.”