In the preface written in 1955 by Albert Camus of my edition of The Myth of Sisyphus it says:

After fifteen years I have progressed beyond several of the positions which are set down here; but I have remained faithful, it seems to me, to the exigency which prompted them.

My interpretation of that sentence is that what's in the book is dated: its essence might hold some value, but some of its reasoning and conclusions are wrong.

Is my interpretation wrong: the reasoning and conclusions maybe are correct, but "imprecise" or "blunt"? Does the book hold any value other than "history of absurdism"? Are there any other later work which gives a less dated reasoning on absurdism?

Given the exigency (to try to use the preface's word) that might lead one to research the subject, I think there's interest in investing ones reading time; where is there the most bang for your buck?

  • Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Philosophy does not function like science, reasoning and conclusions are not clear cut. Whether they are "right" or "wrong" is a matter of perspective, if those apply at all. Hence, philosophical works do not become "dated" simply because their authors change their perspective and move on. Often what came later is not even understandable without what it came from. MoS is still Camus's most resonant work, just as Tractatus is Wittgenstein's, or Being and Time Heidegger's, their "progressing" past them notwithstanding.
    – Conifold
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 11:03
  • Thank you, @Conifold! But doesn't some philosophy build on reason? The first chapter in MoS is called "An Absurd Reasoning" and Camus seems to apply reason, especially in the later parts of the chapter (the only chapter read so far). Isn't "changed perspective" in the context of reason just "changed premises" (though the premises might be hard to spot)? In the subchapters "Philosophical Suicide" and "Absurd Freedom" it seems to me that Camus builds an argument on the mutable qualities of the person confronted by the absurd, i.e. Camus moving on might mean he's just changed as a person?
    – user42806
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 12:11
  • 1
    Do you know Camus' life and works from Nuptials (1938) to The Myth of Sisyphus (1941) to The Rebel (1951) ? Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 12:13
  • I should say, my difficulty to grasp the later parts of "An Absurd Reasoning" is what brought me to SE in the first place. I just happened to notice the preface quote while backtracking. Off-topic, can anyone recommend some place to discuss the book? I'm not sure all my questions are appropriate for SE...
    – user42806
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 12:14
  • 1
    You may want to read SEP commentary on The Myth of Sisyphus and other works linked by Mauro, and perhaps other professional commentary, see What are some book suggestions for further reading about Camus and the absurd, after reading the Stranger and Myth of Sisyphus? It is not easy to get into major philosophical works unaided, just by reading the text. A lot of context and connotations are often implicit.
    – Conifold
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 23:30


You must log in to answer this question.