Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

existentialism, ethics, Camus, Nietzsche, desert, nihilism, values, creativity, tension, responsibility, religion

Department

English

Major

English Education

Abstract

This paper endeavors to respond to the questions: can ethics can be unbound from its traditional rootedness in religious systems? If so, what contributions did Nietzsche make to liberate value from the shackles of Western morality? To what degree is Camus one of the “new philosophers” Nietzsche calls for in On the Genealogy of Morals?

In an attempt to demonstrate that ethics can and do exist vividly in the realm of the non-religious, this paper will begin by illustrating the metaphysical door Nietzsche opens through his use of aphorisms in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and his investigation of the history of Western values in On the Genealogy of Morals. In these nihilistic inquiries Nietzsche collects and sorts values, razes traditional morals of the religious to the ground, and constructs a worldview based on an overman’s (Ubermensch) “will to power.” While Nietzsche is opening a necessary and legitimate door, in reality this mindset is akin to Ivan Karamazov’s “everything is permitted” declaration that allows all actions, even those as extreme as murder. At this point Albert Camus responds to Nietzsche in his books The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, and The Rebel by re-imagining the deserted space beyond Nietzsche’s door. By actively rejecting any type of unifying principle, be it nihilism, religion, or objective conclusions about the world, Camus advocates for an individualistic and ultimately subjective mode of thought. Within this imagined space one is fundamentally free but proportionally lonely and responsible for one’s actions. Void of eternal hope and set free from traditional values, an individual is filled with the opportunity for creativity and constructs a universe for oneself.

Faculty Mentor

Professor Jane Kelley Rodeheffer

Funding Source or Research Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Presentation Session

Session B

Location

Plaza Classroom 189

Start Date

1-4-2016 3:45 PM

End Date

1-4-2016 4:00 PM

 
Apr 1st, 3:45 PM Apr 1st, 4:00 PM

Life at the Meridian: The Subjectivity of Ethics in the Works of Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche

Plaza Classroom 189

This paper endeavors to respond to the questions: can ethics can be unbound from its traditional rootedness in religious systems? If so, what contributions did Nietzsche make to liberate value from the shackles of Western morality? To what degree is Camus one of the “new philosophers” Nietzsche calls for in On the Genealogy of Morals?

In an attempt to demonstrate that ethics can and do exist vividly in the realm of the non-religious, this paper will begin by illustrating the metaphysical door Nietzsche opens through his use of aphorisms in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and his investigation of the history of Western values in On the Genealogy of Morals. In these nihilistic inquiries Nietzsche collects and sorts values, razes traditional morals of the religious to the ground, and constructs a worldview based on an overman’s (Ubermensch) “will to power.” While Nietzsche is opening a necessary and legitimate door, in reality this mindset is akin to Ivan Karamazov’s “everything is permitted” declaration that allows all actions, even those as extreme as murder. At this point Albert Camus responds to Nietzsche in his books The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, and The Rebel by re-imagining the deserted space beyond Nietzsche’s door. By actively rejecting any type of unifying principle, be it nihilism, religion, or objective conclusions about the world, Camus advocates for an individualistic and ultimately subjective mode of thought. Within this imagined space one is fundamentally free but proportionally lonely and responsible for one’s actions. Void of eternal hope and set free from traditional values, an individual is filled with the opportunity for creativity and constructs a universe for oneself.