I’ve read The Myth Of Sisyphus, and it prompted some questions that I’m hoping other readers of Camus might be able to answer:

  1. Did Camus see unbridled hedonism as a solution to the nihilism caused by the inherent absurdity of the human condition? Does he ever advocate for any kind of temperance or restraint of primal urges?

  2. What was his view of free will vs determinism? In one sense, humans are in an absurd universe precisely because they lack control over their fate. But I could also see him arguing that each individual must decide to enjoy sunshine, sport, literature, etc to rebel or revolt against the absurd world. I’m curious if he believes that this choice is available to everyone, or if the choice is already made for each individual based on historical momentum.

I want to read more by Camus, but I’d like to see these two questions addressed - so recommended reading is appreciated.

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    That universal reason, practical or ethical, that determinism, those categories that explain everything are enough to make a decent man laugh”, "If I admit that my freedom has no meaning except in relation to its limited fate, then I must say that what counts is not the best living but the most living" Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays.
    – Conifold
    Aug 30, 2019 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


David Simpson writes of Albert Camus: [my emphasis]

Camus is often classified as an existentialist writer, and it is easy to see why. Affinities with Kierkegaard and Sartre are patent. He shares with these philosophers (and with the other major writers in the existentialist tradition, from Augustine and Pascal to Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche) an habitual and intense interest in the active human psyche, in the life of conscience or spirit as it is actually experienced and lived. Like these writers, he aims at nothing less than a thorough, candid exegesis of the human condition, and like them he exhibits not just a philosophical attraction but also a personal commitment to such values as individualism, free choice, inner strength, authenticity, personal responsibility, and self-determination.

This suggests that he supported free will over determinism. His commitment to personal responsibility, inner strength and authenticity suggest he was not interested in "unbridled hedonism".

Simpson, D. Albert Camus (1913-1960). Retrieved on October 8, 2019 from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at https://www.iep.utm.edu/camus/

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