2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 3:05pm - 3:25pm
Tracing A Socratic Legacy Through Albert Camus' “Myth of Sisyphus”

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Albert Camus was well-acquainted with the major philosophers of the Classical world, and many of his works testify to his infatuation with ancient Greece. But little work has been done to trace the Classical origins of his philosophical reasoning. In what ways could the writings of Albert Camus have been influenced by the legacy of one of the foundational figures of western philosophy, Socrates? How does the Socratic tradition manifest itself in Camus’ theory of the Absurd? For this study, I will look primarily at Camus’ 1942 essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, in which his theory of the Absurd is most clearly illustrated. This essay, in conjunction with Plato’s Socratic writings including the Apology, Phaedrus, and Symposium, as well as other Socratic sources from Antiquity, will allow me to demonstrate the extent to which Camus, however inadvertently, became part of a clear Socratic tradition in philosophy. The Myth of Sisyphus contains clear traces of Socratic reasoning. Though Camus and Socrates may diverge on the ultimate result of philosophical inquiry, many of Socrates’ methodologies and attitudes are echoed in Camus’ writing, including but not limited to a strong desire for the “awakening” of a critical consciousness, a preoccupation with the human rather than the metaphysical or cosmological, and a conception of human wisdom as a knowing-of-not-knowing. This positions him on a long line of modern and ancient thinkers who were both directly and indirectly influenced by Socrates and his methods, which were revolutionary in their time.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 3:05pm - 3:25pm
237 Owen Hall

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