Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation examines the impact of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche on the development of Albert Camus’ political philosophy. The innovation of the present study is in the attempt to offer a substantive examination of Camus’ dialogue with Nietzsche and Dostoevsky. To the extent that connections between these writers have been discussed, it has been in the general context of modern thought or it has focused on overlapping literary themes. This project emphasizes the political dimensions of these connections. In addition to re-interpreting Camus’ political thought, the aim is to clarify Camus’ struggle with transcendence and to bring renewed attention to his unique understanding of the relationship between nihilism, ideology, and political violence in the twentieth century. I focus on Camus’ dialogue with Nietzsche and Dostoevsky for three reasons. First, these are the thinkers with whom Camus is most engaged. Indeed the problems and themes of Camus’ work are largely defined by Dostoevsky and Nietzsche; a full account of this dialogue will therefore enhance our understanding of Camus while also reinforcing the enduring importance of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky. Second, it allows me to recast Camus’ political philosophy as both a synthesis of and a response to Nietzsche and Dostoevsky’s projects. Finally, I believe this approach allows for a re-assessment of Camus’ broader political significance, which I contend has been undervalued in the literature. Ultimately, I argue that Camus remains among the most important moral and political voices of the twentieth century. Although limited, his philosophy of revolt offers a humane portrait of justice and articulates a meaningful alternative to the extremes of ideological politics.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.
Illing, Sean Derek, "Between nihilism and transcendence : Albert Camus' dialogue with Nietzsche and Dostoevsky" (2014). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1393.