Famous Thinkers: Camus and Sartre
Camus and Sartre, Nobel Laureates of 1957 and 1964 respectively, were both of French descent and were authors of considerable influence during the era of World War II. Creative thinking is the process of generating new ideas that work as well or better as previous ideas, and critical thinking skills facilitate the ability to make reasoned judgments about problems and situations. Camus and Sartre are considered to be great thinkers, both creatively and critically, and their thinking processes focus on taking necessary criticisms into account, applying curiosity, and avoiding assumptions (Ruggiero, 2009). Contributions to Society
Camus and Sartre met in Nazi-occupied Paris at the height of World War II at the June 1943 opening of Sartre’s play, The Flies. By this time, both men were public figures. Sartre’s novel, Nausea, regarding his views on life’s meaninglessness, had been published five years earlier, and his existentialist tract, Being and Nothingness, was about to be released onto the public. As for the younger, Camus, both his first novel, The Stranger, and his philosophical piece, The Myth of Sisyphus, had come out within the previous year to high acclaim (Aronson, 2005). Even before the two met, they had reviewed each other’s books. Camus had praised Nausea as well as a collection of Sartre’s short fiction for their demonstration of the absurdity of existence. In The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus would offer his own perception of the freedom that comes from accepting a godless. Camus’ appeal that life is what one makes of it without fear of eternity registered powerfully with Sartre. In an intense and lengthy review of Camus’s The Stranger, Sartre sketched an author, Camus, sounding very much like Sartre himself. Camus’ theory of the absurdity of human existence is reflected in society’s creation of a justice system that chooses to punish a murderer by murdering him (capital punishment). Sartre was an intellectual leader of existentialism philosophy, and he believed that humans are responsible for creating their own place in society and “must accept the responsibility for defining their essential nature” (Sartre, 1999, ¶ 1). Camus and Sartre held many views in common and their thinking made major contributions to society and has been credited as the basis for the left-bank culture of the 1960s (Scruton, 2005). Their Environments
Camus had proved his honor and his nerve in the Resistance against the occupying Nazis, serving as editor of the clandestine newspaper Combat. Sartre had served in the defeated French army, spent several months as a prisoner of war, and then pulled his focus back to full-time author. The two men strove to live authentically and believed that authenticity could extend to, and survive, candor and even bluntness between them. But if Sartre’s was the more imposing mind, Camus was the more impressive man. Camus had boldness, courage and integrity; these, along with intelligence, were the qualities for which Sartre held him in the most esteem (Aronson, 2005). Camus and Sartre were both critics of the Communist party, bearing witness to the shameless collaboration of the Communist party with the Nazis. Sartre was even targeted by the party as a public enemy. He encouraged his readers “to judge communism by its intentions and not by its actions” (Scruton, 2005, p. 28). Camus held many of the same views on political violence and communism, but found it permissible to think that the creation of the atomic bomb and the subsequent bombing of Hiroshima by the United States was indecent to celebrate as a happy scientific discovery. By his thinking, “it should more surely be the subject of much reflection and good deal of silence” (Camus, 1988, p. 78). Issues Their Ideas Sought to Solve
These two great minds sought to proclaim their views on man’s responsibility for his own existence. They were even friends until they parted ways in 1952, unable to meld their views...
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Camus, A. (1988). After Hiroshima: Between hell and reason. Philosophy Today, 32(1), 77-78. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from ProQuest database.
Camus, A., & Van den Hoven, A. (2001, December). Democracy is an exercise in modesty. Sartre Studies International, 7(2), 12-14. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from Gale database.
Ruggiero, V. R. (2009). A guide to critical and creative thought, (9th ed.). [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. New York: Pearson Longman. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from University of Phoenix, rEsource, PHL458—Creative Minds and Critical Thinking.
Sartre, J.-P. (1999). There is no human nature. Opposing Viewpoints: Human Nature. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from Gale database.
Scruton, R. (2005, June 25). The power of negative thinking: Roger Scruton says that France has never recovered from Jean-Paul Sartre 's horror of the bourgeoisie and his repudiation of both Christianity and the idea of France. Spectator, 298(9229), 28-30. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from Gale database.
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