Master of Arts (MA)
The ideas of Albert Camus and Immanuel Kant are not often thought of as sharing pronounced similarities. However, both thinkers are deeply concerned with role of aesthetics in moral, and subsequently, political life. According to each, taste is a faculty whereby one is able to develop the “moral insight” needed for the flourishing of a robust, thoughtful, ethical individual. Yet, both Camus and Kant utilize highly divergent methodologies in going about this. Camus prefers the artistic form and poetic language offered by the novel and Kant prefers the logical rigor of critical philosophical arguments. This thesis hopes to reveal that this methodological chasm allows one thinker to express what the other cannot. Camus is able to artistically and beautifully express the absurdity of moral life in such a way that is ripe with personal resonance and meaning; while Kant is able to philosophically ground Camus’ concerns in a logically thorough manner. Utilizing the novels of Camus and the works of Kant, this thesis posits that Camus and Kant are complimentary thinkers, each in need of one another in order to express a more nuanced conception of politics in which judgment and aesthetic taste play a key role. Such a project also hopes to demonstrate the importance of aesthetics and artistic expression in the maintenance of a just political order.
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Cole, Alex Donovan, "Between Beauty and Duty: Ethics and Judgment in Camus and Kant" (2015). LSU Master's Theses. 3651.