I am currently reading the Myth of Sisyphus and I came across the following:

All thoughts are anthropomorphic

My Interpretation

Prior to reading this, I had no idea what "anthropomorphic" meant. However, I looked up the definition and it seems to vary because of it's similarity to the word personification. Before this quote, he writes:

The mind's deepest desire, even in its most elaborate operations, parallels man's unconscious feelings in the face of his universe: it is an insistence upon familiarity, an appetite for clarity. Understanding the world for a man is reducing it to the human, stamping it with his seal. The cat's universe is not the universe of the ant-hill.

I believe he is trying to make the point that our perspective of the universe is related to who we are. For example, if you are a human then you will see the universe through the eyes of the human and therefore, "the cat's universe is not the universe of the ant-hill". When he says "All thoughts are anthropomorphic", what I think he means is that all the thoughts are given some human traits or characteristics so that they make sense to humans. Therefore, the universe to a cat will be in terms of the cat's characteristics/traits.

Question: Is my interpretation reasonable, is there an accepted interpretation or have I missed the point completely?


  • Your quote, out of context, is very hard to interpret. You need to at least show the whole paragraph were the quote is found! – Guill Dec 16 '14 at 18:09

We are all men. All our thoughts are anthropomorphic. If we try to imagine thoughts in animals, we will imagine them to have anthropomorphic thoughts. It is beyond our realm to understand how an animal would actually think.

We interpret the universe through our human mind and senses. We have no other choice. Charles Darwin, when asked if he believed in God, answered "A dog may as well contemplate the workings of the mind of [Sir Issac] Newton. Let each man believe what he can." A dog will never be able to understand the mind of Newton. It's mind is too limited in it's comprehension ability compared to Newton. We are limited by our human intelligence. How can we come to understand anything of God when we are faced with similar limitations with our minds?

Cats will worship a Cat God, dogs a Dog God. Your understanding is correct.


The most simple answer is that since Camous' characters are animals, all their thoughts, by definition, are anthropomorphic.

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