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  You are in: Home > Philosophy > Camus’ Answer  

Camus’ Answer
“No” to the Western Pharisees Who Impose Reason on Reality

Robert Trundle

Author text to follow


Although Camus was called the “conscience of his age”, no writer has continued to be both more vilified and exalted in the West. His writings are not only a devastating critique of Western philosophy, but Camus’ cultural horizons are infused with heartfelt insights of Eastern wisdom. Western culture is vulnerable to dilemmas of existence because it seeks to make abstract certain absolutes: The West has failed to come to grips with our finite existential condition. Indian thought distinguishes social, political, scientific and philosophical views of Reality from Reality itself. And this distinction evokes a hope, humility and spirituality that promotes a courage to live with truths not faced by the West.

Camus Answer is a gateway to investigating whether Camus ideal of living without conceptual absolutes is an attainable goal. Intriguingly, his writings touch upon a freedom from the anxiety of living that raise a specter of Eastern philosophical horizons. Camusinsights in terms of the East are present in his fictional illustrations of alienated twentieth-century outsiders (The Stranger); the pursuit of truths that are not immutable and absolute (The Myth of Sisyphus); plays that highlight the absurdity of irrational views of Reality (Caligula); culminating in The Rebel, which warned of illusory dogmas of absolutist philosophies.


1 Introduction: Experience of the Absurd

2 Logic that Reassures
The Absurdity of Existence
From Existential to Logical Absurdity
An Absurdity of Excessive Logic
Living Without an Excess of Logic

3 Disquietude that Cannot be Distilled
Maintaining a Tension of Existence
Existential Conflict
Conflict and Metaphysical Why
A Metaphysical Answer
Answers and Nostalgia for the Absolute
Camus’ Own Revolt Against Absurdity
Absurdity in the Absence of Conflict?
Conflict and the Search for Meaning
The Meaning of Nothingness

4 Politeness and Politics
Politeness: The First Degree of Justice
Loving Abstract Humanity
A Contagion of Group Think
Self-Refuting Political Thought
Utopias Which Destroy Themselves
The Longing to be Free From Pain

5 A Politicized Existentialism
Flirtation and Revulsion
Intoxicating Paradoxes at a Café
From Paradox to Moral Anarchy
Ensuing Orthodoxies of Modernism
An Aftermath of Postmodernism

6 Rise of the Bourgeois Bohemians
A Mean Between Extremes
An Extremism of $ucce$$
Sacrifice to the Ever-Pressing “They”
Bourgeois Anxiety and Existential Angst

7 Experience Defined Rationally
Contrast to an Eastern Position
Nostalgia for the Absolute
Quest for an Absolutist Epistemology
From Epistemology to Political Ideology

8 Rationalism Par Excellence
Independence of the World for Intelligibility
A Search for Intelligibility Ends in Paradox
A Paradox of the One over Many
From the Many to a Critique of Pure Reason
Reason and Absolutism in the Final Analysis

9 Need Reality Conform to Reason?
Psychological and Logical Thirst for Reality
Reality and Verbal Limitations
Limitations in terms of the Madhyamika
The Madhyamika and Misunderstanding
Misunderstanding an Eastern Existentialism
From the Existential to the Logical
Logical Consequences
Beyond the Conceptual and Linguistic

Appendix I Interview with Catherine Camus
Appendix II A Biographical Sketch of Camus

The Sun and Poverty of Algeria
The Political Clouds over France
Paradoxes of Christianity and Marxism


“A fine explanation of the various meanings of Camus’ concept of the absurd. A useful introduction to Camus’ thought.” Choice


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
192 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
January 2002
  Illustrated:   No
Hardback Price:
£32.50 / $49.50
Paperback Price:
£18.95 / $29.95

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