To Remake Man and the World...comme si? Camus's "Ethics" contra Nihilism

Abstract

Whether Albert Camus’s “existentialist” thought expresses an “ethics” is a subject of disagreement among commentators. Yet, there can be no reading of Camus’s philosophical and literary works without recognizing that he was engaged in the post-WW2 period with two basic questions: How must we think? What must we do? If his thought presents us with an ethics, even if not systematic, it seems to be present in his ideas of “remaking” both man and world that are central to his The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel. Curiously, however, this apparent recommendation is ambiguous for the fact that while Camus proposes as much he does so “comme si,” i.e., form a perspective of “as if.” A clarification of this qualification is presented here in the light of the fact that Camus rejects any nihilist project that countenances either suicide or murder. Thereby one may argue that Camus indeed has an ethics that remains pertinent to today.

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