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Camus' ToK

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Alyssa Stefanie Peter 11JLa English Higher Level The Outsider To what extent is Meursault a representation of Camus' TOK? Existentialism "Existentialism is a philosophical movement which posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives, as opposed to it being created for them by deities or authorities or defined for them by philosophical or theological doctrines" quote from Wikipedia. In the Outsider, the issue of someone trying to break free from conformity and rule and staying true to himself is addressed. Camus uses many events in the book to convey his philosphy: his mother's death, the killing, the trial and hs interactions with people around him. For existentialism, he uses Meursault's mother's death. Meursault shows "no compassion or grieve" at his mother's funeral. He does not follow social norms like, "mourning for a long time after a death of a close one, showing remorse at the funeral". He creates his own meaning and essence of his life by doing anything he pleases and not doing something just because the law or society says so. This has led him to being discriminated and excluded from society, thus the title "The Outsider". ...read more.


But that face was the colour of the sun and burning with desire: it was Marie's face." This makes him an existentialist as he creates his own meaning and joy in life. Nihilism "Nihilism is the rejection of objective reality or the possibility of an objective basis for morality. It means 'nothing' in Latin. It is also the rejection of established beliefs, as in religious morals, government and laws." Camus portrayed Meursault as somewhat of a nihilist too. Meursault does not accept religion, a form of established belief. He "refuses to see the chaplain who tries to converts him". Meursault also does not follow any social patterns or belong to any organizations, "basically he only eats, swims, work and sleeps". His life is akin to living in his own world. In society's point of view, he is considered a loner. This accounts for his belief that there is no meaning in life, and thus does not take part in social events as he finds them meaningless and useless. At the trial, Meursault does not even stray from what he believed was right. ...read more.


The most absurd thing is that Meursault actually accepts this absurdity of his life, and refuses the artificial standard answers like the kinds religions offer. I think that the seeming pointlessness of Meursult's life story is the actual point of the book. (Simplified) Relationship between Existentialism, Absurdism, and Nihilism Atheistic existentialism Theistic existentialism Absurdism Nihilism 1. There is such a thing as "meaning" or "value" to be found in life Yes Yes Yes No 2. There is inherent meaning in the universe (either intrinsic or from God) No Maybe, but humans must have faith to believe there is Maybe, but humans can never know it No 3. Individuals can create meaning in life themselves Yes, it is essential that they do Yes, it is essential that they do Yes, but it is not essential No, because there is no such meaning to create 4. The pursuit of intrinsic or extrinsic meaning in the universe is a futile gesture Yes, and the pursuit itself is meaningless No, and the pursuit itself may have meaning Yes, but the pursuit itself may have meaning Yes, and the pursuit itself is meaningless 5. The pursuit of constructed meaning is a futile gesture No, thus the goal of existentialism No, thus the goal of existentialism Maybe Yes ...read more.

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