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This brief text assists students in understanding Camus's philosophy and thinking so they can more fully engage in useful, intelligent class dialogue and improve their understanding of course content. Part of the Wadsworth Notes Series, (which will eventually consist of approximately 100 titles, each focusing on a single "thinker" from ancient times to the present), ON CAMUS is written by a philosopher deeply versed in the philosophy of this key thinker. Like other books in the series, this concise book offers sufficient insight into the thinking of a notable philosopher, better enabling students to engage in reading and to discuss the material in class and on paper.
|1||Life and Works||1|
|2||The Religious Roots of Camus' Philosophical Thought||7|
|4||Caligula and Sisyphus||45|
|5||Camus the Moralist: The Plague, The Rebel, and The Fall||65|
Posted May 20, 2002
Dr. Kamber has written a book the goal of which is to examine the body of Albert Camus¿ work under the bright lights of the professional philosopher¿s expertise. The book is intended for those without extensive formal training in philosophy. As one who has read much of Camus¿ work throughout my lifetime but who lacks a formal philosophic background, I found ¿On Camus¿ to be highly edifying. Dr. Kamber shows great insight and breadth of knowledge in tracing the roots of Camus¿ thought... his lifetime preoccupation with Christianity and his exposure and influence by the likes of religious thinkers (Pascal, Plotinus, the Gnostics, St. Augustine, Dostoyevski, Kierkegaard, Chestov and Jaspers). All of these influences are explicated in a concise, clear and understandable manner by Professor Kamber, whose obvious gifts as a teacher are displayed with bravura. One begins to understand the roots for many of Camus¿ themes such as the yearning for the lost homeland of his youth. Dr. K makes a strong argument for the veracity of Sartre¿s observation that Camus (as can be postulated from his lifelong ¿dialogue¿ with and about Christian ideas) was an anti-theist rather than an atheist. The exegesis of ¿The Stranger¿ by Dr. K is excellent and it is apparent that he has lived with this book for many years. Mersault and his philosophical import are dissected under the scrutiny of a philosopher¿s exacting argumentative skills and we begin to see that the penetrating questions that are posed by Camus are not always answered. Some of the themes examined are the Absurd, the meaninglessness of life and finality of death, selfishness and moral obligation to others, the concept of scorn, with astute references to Kafka and Nietzsche. Dr. K demonstrates some of the deficiencies that a professional philosopher would find in this work, yet he maintains a deep appreciation and admiration for the lyrical beauty and power that was Camus¿ prose and perhaps his greatest gift. Dr. K examines ¿Caligula¿ in the light of Nietzchean and Gnostic thought and finds the question of the moral import of the emperor¿s path to be left unanswered. In ¿The Myth of Sysiphus¿ we find Camus¿ development of his interpretation of the Absurd and it¿s liberating but costly demands, the scientific intelligibility (or unintelligibility) of the world, revolt, freedom and passion, fellowship and it¿s import and Camus¿ challenge to Husserl¿s phenomenology. Here again Dr. K finds the reasoning to be ¿philosophically muddled¿ and ¿sketchy¿. Yet he acknowledges the potetial of Camus¿ thought to enrich and broaden our approach to the tribulations of life. There is an insightful examination of Camus as a moralist and the deficiencies of his approach are explored. In ¿The Plague¿, Dr. Kamber discusses Camus¿ thoughts on fighting evil, and his explication is thoughtful and insightful as always. Rebellion and revolt are explored in Camus¿ ¿The Rebel¿, with it¿s damning take on Marxism and Soviet Communism, and the interesting consequences of these viewpoints on his relationship with Sartre are presented. In Dr. K¿s analysis of ¿The Fall¿, selfishness and guilt are discussed. As ever, the deficiencies in Camus¿ philosophical analysis are exposed, and the exegesis is highly revealing of Camus¿ sources and conclusions. Dr. Kamber ends his analysis of the work of Camus by stating that his writing is ¿seldom philosophy in the professional sense of the term, but it was always an earnest search for wisdom.¿ I found it highly edifying to become aware of the philosophic deficiencies of one of my favorite writers, yet gratifying that Dr. Kamber is able to balance his analysis by maintaining his admiration for the sincerity, lyricism and passionate inspiration that Camus excels at impaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.