The way I see it, Albert Camus' philosophy can be summarised in a dialog as follows:

Q1: What is the meaning of life?

A1: Life has no meaning. It is absurd.

Q2: Then, why live?

A2: To rebel against the absurd.

Q3: Why rebel against the absurd?

A3: To endure the sufferings of life, which will bring you purpose.

If my understanding is correct, then, is it not true that all of this could be equally explained using just Q1 and A3? By doing this, we get rid off all Absurdism, so in what way is Camus adding to the conversation and not just being redundant?

  • 5
    If he needs all the other stuff to reach his conclusion, then there's no reason to get rid of the other stuff. I think this is a missapplication of Occam's razor.
    – TKoL
    Commented Apr 17 at 8:44
  • 3
    A3 does not describe Camus at all, and skipping from A1 to A3 is exactly what he criticized existentialists for, "starting from a philosophy of the world’s lack of meaning, it ends up finding a meaning and depth in it". They betray their own original insight to false pretense of reaching beyond the human condition. Life will not bring any "purpose", it is futile, nor will one "make" his own. Instead, "struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart" to face "crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it." To get there, one cannot skip the absurd.
    – Conifold
    Commented Apr 17 at 9:05
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    Occam's razor is a heuristic, not a fact of logic.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Apr 18 at 8:54
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    The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) is a philosophical essay: there is much more that a simple "logical" argument in it. There is intuition, analysis, discussion of previous philosophers: "The essay concludes, 'The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.' " This is then reason why Ockham's razor (whatever it may be) does not apply. Commented Apr 18 at 9:33
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    You can read C's approach as a sort of "modern religion": instead of ancient Credo quia absurdum Camus' conclusion is "Vivo quia absurdum". Commented Apr 18 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


No. Your logic seems to be suggesting that to present an argument from a starting position, via intermediate steps, to a conclusion is a violation of Occam's razor because it would be simpler to drop the intermediate steps. On that basis, any otherwise unjustified claim would be supported by Occam's razor.

It would also lead to an interesting conundrum when the intermediate step was the application of Occam's razor, since your argument would then suggest that quoting Occam's razor would be a violation of Occam's razor.


No. It should be:

Q1: What is the meaning of life?

A1: Life has no meaning. It is absurd.

Q2: Then, why living?

A2: But, why not live?

A3: You decide.

  • 1
    OP's question is not what Camus' philosophy means, but about a specific attribute of said philosophy (i.e. the violationof Occam's Razor). Since this answer doesn't even mention any of that, it seems not to really help...
    – AnoE
    Commented Apr 18 at 12:44
  • @AnoE: At least 12 people disagree..
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Apr 18 at 18:02
  • my comment is meant in the spirit of this website - I like to give a comment when I downvote. This does not necessarily mean that you're wrong, but can simply mean that I don't understand it. If you wish, feel free to expand the answer - maybe your train of thought is well known to people used to discuss Camus and hence obvious, but certainly not to everyone.
    – AnoE
    Commented Apr 19 at 12:50
  • @AnoE: "Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee? But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself." - attributed to Camus
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Apr 19 at 15:00

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