Information icon.svg Results for the 2023 RationalWiki Moderator Election have now been posted. Thank you for participating in this election, and congratulations to the winners!


From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Thinking hardly
or hardly thinking?

Icon philosophy.svg
Major trains of thought
The good, the bad,
and the brain fart
Come to think of it
O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.
—Pindar, Pythian iii (quoted by Camus as an epigraph to The Myth of Sisyphus)

Absurdism is an atheistic stance on the meaning of life, behind the disambiguation of "atheist existentialism" and nihilism. In the broadest sense, absurdists take the stance that the search for the meaning of life is futile, either because it is unknowable to humans or that it doesn't exist. The philosophy was popularised by French novelist and philosopher Albert Camus in the 1950s.[1]

There are three ways to solve the problem of meaninglessness (assuming that it is a problem). The first is suicide, which is considered to not solve the problem by Camus and Søren Kierkegaard because the act of ending one's existence is also absurd. The second is religion or dedication to any other ideal involving a higher purpose of some sort, considered by Camus to be "philosophical suicide" due to the acceptance of bullshit. The third is acceptance of the absurd: to accept that one's existence is likely meaningless, but to continue living in the face of it — the ultimate act of rebellion if it were not itself absurd as well. This has been historically likened to the British saying "carry on".

Absurdism is an underdeveloped philosophy and thus relativistic. The core idea is vague, and the corollary of this is that the absurd means different things to different people. One major divide is whether absurdism states with certainty that there is no meaning, or whether it is just suggested that there is no reason to think there is meaning. Another is whether one can formulate meaning whilst accepting it to be personal and absurd, and another is if belief in a god is contradictory to the philosophy.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]