When is it virtuous to predicate your happiness on another person's suicide? What would Camus say about deliberately getting another person to kill themselves? Supposing that, rightly or wrongly, you suspect them of being dangerous to you.

  • 2
    I think Camus was only about your own personal decision to commit suicide yourself. I doubt he would have advocated for inciting others to commit suicide.
    – Frank
    Jan 9 at 20:33
  • I suppose he isn't, at least... quite the opposite indeed @Frank
    – user64190
    Jan 9 at 20:53
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    Camus' thesis is that the Absurd should be faced and defied. That is why any form of suicide (either physical or philosophical) is a defeat. So the answer is no, Camus wants people to live and defy the absurd nevertheless.
    – Nikos M.
    Jan 10 at 17:27
  • @NikosM. "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide." ~ Albert Camus. Camus explains why there's actually no reason to live, but he asks us to still live. Jan 11 at 6:41
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    @AgentSmith yep Camus' thesis is that suicide in the face of the absurd is a defeat and should not be done. This is the motive of the Myth of Sisiphus "one must imagine Sisiphus as happy".
    – Nikos M.
    Jan 11 at 6:50

2 Answers 2


Strictly speaking, I'm not aware of any of his work that addresses inducing suicide in others, but as NikosM has pointed out, an absurdist, by Camus, is someone who has a primary choice, suicide. In the philosophical sense, it means resigning yourself to faith. In the literal sense, well, it means ending your life. Camus was big on living right and well.

If you review his biography, you'll find he was an active figure in the intellectual resistance to fascism, and then tried to enlist to kill Nazi's. He was clearly a moralist in his works, especially The Myth of Sisyphus where he laid out his views on suicide. Many people seem to confuse the fact that he rejected a meaningful life by some object measure as him being a nihilist believing in nothing. Nothing is further from the truth. His works was a clarion call to rally one's attempt to live life fully and morally in the face of absurdity (which might be taken as a meaning). Some have called him an existentialist in this regard, but he himself rejected the label. Camus himself noted that his philosophy was a rebellion against doctrine, and more an emotional plea to be fully human. After he broaches suicide in Myth he says:

It now becomes clear, on the contrary, that it will be lived all the better if it has no meaning. Living an experience, a particular fate, is accepting it fully.

This isn't a license to do evil, it's an exhortation that morality is found within, not without in sacred texts and the rationalizations of priests (a theme in The Plague). Ultimately, as a literate, moral man, I doubt that except in rare cases of punching Nazis in the face, Camus would advocate harm to others at all.


In the abstract, presumably it's fine with Camus

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

Helping someone with the one truly serious philosophical problem would, in itself, be a good thing, not a bad one.

On the other hand, that would not mean that all means of trying to get someone else to commit suicide would be good, as there are means that are actually ways to short-circuit the judgment to get the answer desired. Therefore, predicating your happiness on it would be a wrong way, as it is an attempt to bias the judgment.

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