Elements of a post-metaphysical and post-secular ethics and politics: Albert Camus on human nature and the problem of evil
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):141-152 (2007)
My thesis is that Albert Camus offers key elements of a viable nonmetaphysical, post-secular ethical and political anthropology and explanation of evil. Idefend my thesis in two parts. First, I explicate and analyze Camus’s remarks on human nature and injustice primarily in his political essay The Rebel (1951). Camus offers a nonmetaphysical picture of human nature, inspired by the Greeks, as that out of which rebellion to oppression springs but also as that which frustrates any final resolution to the problems of history. Secondly, I offer a reading of The Fall (1956). I argue that Camus’s depiction of human nature in this work, contrary to typical readings, highlights his appreciation of the insight and pragmatically desirable consequences of the Christian concept of sin. I show thatCamus depicts the possibility of a “healthy” guilt, a guilt linked to the pursuit of freedom and a responsibility to self and to others.
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