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The Philosophers: Resisting despair

The Philosophers: Resisting despair

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28 Maret 2022

Sean Illing talks with author and professor Robert Zaretsky about the French philosopher, novelist, and journalist Albert Camus (1913–1960). Though Camus might be best known for his novel The Stranger, Sean and Prof. Zaretsky explore the ideas contained in his philosophical essays "The Myth of Sisyphus," The Rebel, and in the allegorical novel The Plague, which saw a resurgence in interest over the past two years. They discuss the meaning of "the absurd," why one must imagine Sisyphus happy, and how the roots of mid-20th-century political nihilism (making sort of a comeback lately) can be found in one's relationship to abstract ideas. This is the first episode of The Philosophers, a new series from Vox Conversations. Each episode will focus on a philosophical figure or school of thought from the past, and discuss how their ideas can help us make sense of our modern world and lives today. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews writer, Vox Guest: Robert Zaretsky, author and professor, University of Houston Works by Camus:  The Rebel (1951) ; The Stranger (1942) ; The Plague (1947) ; "The Myth of Sisyphus" (1942) ; "The Century of Fear" (in Neither Victims Nor Executioners; 1946) ; "The Human Crisis" (1946) ; The First Man (uncompleted manuscript, pub. 1960) Other References:  "This is a time for solidarity" by Sean Illing (Vox; Mar. 15, 2020) "What Camus's The Plague can teach us about the Covid-19 pandemic" by Sean Illing (Vox; Jul. 22, 2020) A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning by Robert Zaretsky (Harvard University Press; 2016) Lo straniero, dir. by Luchino Visconti (Italian film adaptation of Camus's The Stranger; 1967 - English-dubbed version) Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1755; a.k.a. Rousseau's "Second Discourse") The Gay Science, by Friedrich Nietzsche (1882; passage on eternal recurrence: Bk. IV, sec. 341) Albert Camus's "The Human Crisis" read by Viggo Mortensen, 70 years later (Columbia University Maison Française; 2016) Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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