StrangerAlbert Camus (1913 -
a French philosopher of the absurd,
Born in Algeria in 1913
Settled in Paris and studied philosophy and
One of the key figures of the existentialist
movement of the 1950s
Writings affected by the time period: the horrors
The Stranger (1942) Setting: Algiers,
Algeria (Northwest coast of Africa)
Is characterized by its simple plot,
A body of philosophical thought focusing on
the uniqueness and isolation of individual
experience in a universe indifferent or hostile
to humans, regarding human existence as
unexplainable, and emphasizing man’s
freedom of choice and responsibility for the
consequences of his acts.
The word first appeared in 1941
•Branch of philosophy based on the situation of the individual in an absurd or meaningless universe
where humans have free will
•Existentialists argue that people are responsible for and the sole judge of their actions as they affect others.
•Individuals must not allow their choices to be constrained by ANYTHING -- not even reason or morality. One has the ultimate freedom to choose,
Sartre, in his lecture “Existentialism and Human
Emotions,” formed the slogan “Existence precedes Essence.” He illustrated this slogan with four
1. We have no predetermined nature or essence that controls what we are, what we do, or what is
valuable for us.
2. We are radically free to act independently of determination by outside influences.
3. We create our own human nature through these free choices.
The Basic Existentialist
Existence precedes essence.
Essence: the basic, real, and invariable nature of a
thing or its significant individual feature or features
Man exists without a predetermined purpose
Man is a conscious subject rather than a
thing to be predicted or manipulated.
Man exists as a conscious being, and not in
More Existentialist Themes/Ideas
Identities are constructed by the individual
Values are subjective- no preset right or
We are all condemned to be free.
Bad faith: when individuals under pressure
from societal forces adopt false values and disown their innate freedom to act
Antihero & The Psychological
Antihero: A nontraditional protagonist or
non hero who presents none of the skill,
intelligence or nobility of the standard hero. Is Meursault one?
Psychological Novella: Study of a
character’s mind with emphasis on motivation, internal dialogue, and circumstance
Readers observe his character, values,
There are no universal, objective standards
for right and wrong.
No objective, rational basis exists for moral
The individual must decide which situations
are to count as moral situations.
The individual is responsible for all of the
A Poem by Stephen Crane
A man said to the universe: “Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
Choice and Commitment
Humanity’s primary distinction is the freedom
to choose; the choices an individual makes create his or her nature.
Choice is inescapable; even the refusal to
choose is a choice.
Freedom of choice involves commitment; one
must accept the risk and responsibility of following that commitment.
Anxiety stems from our understanding and
recognition of the total freedom of choice that confronts us every moment, and the
The doctrine that human beings live in
essential isolation in a meaningless and
Absurdists do not believe suicide is the
answer. You should choose to make the
most of what you have while you’re living.
I am my own existence, but…this existence