Absurd Creation: An Existentialist View of Art?

Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):49-58 (2009)
What are we to make of works of art whose apparent point is to convince us of the meaninglessness and absurdity of human existence? I examine, in this paper, the attempt of Albert Camus to provide philosophical justification of art in the face of the supposed fact of absurdity and note its failure as such with specific reference to Sartre’s criticism. Despite other superficial similarities, I contrast Camus’s concept of the absurd with that of his ‘existentialist’ colleagues, including Sartre, and suggest that the latter concept is more philosophically viable. I conclude that existential phenomenology consequently provides a more promising philosophical justification for artistic creation in the light of the more viable conception of absurdity.
Keywords aesthetics  Sartre  Camus  existentialism  phenomenology
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