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Absurd limits: Camus, Dewey, and metaphysics
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If we take seriously the analogy bestowed by our heritage that nature is to be conceived as our mother and that God the Father is our source for Reason, Truth, and Justice then given Nietzsche's claim that we are a generation of fatherless children we should be a generation of naturalists. But the latter has yet to develop a strong following or even a consciousness about this cosmic divorce. The existentialists, for instance, ruminated almost exclusively on their bereavement from God venturing little to strengthen and engage what could be fruitfully gained from Mother Nature. Albert Camus, amongst the European scene, was an exception. He was someone who literally and figuratively lost his father and developed a bond between his natural mother and nature herself. Camus was apt to saying that following the desertion of the gods his idols all had feet of clay. This prolonged love affair with the earthly was both a source for spirituality and understanding that funded a keen sensibility toward a horizon of naturalistic humanism. Naturalistic humanism is an intelligence that consents to relativity consecrated by tears and shadow, body and sunlight. It reflects an earth-bound odyssey where silence, pain, suffering, and struggle mingle with love, life, value, meaning, and beauty. If human existence goes best when described as a drama then as naturalists we are but paying homage to our setting where players transact on pavement, bodies come to be confined or spread as particles amidst ocean and land, and tragedies are preserved in the sands of time. John Dewey's prominent instrument when describing the human setting was the use of humans as "organisms." As a naturalist, the application was flawless because the image enabled him to describe an individual's environment in an intimate way. Dewey, because of his naturalism, had a remarkable ability to frame humans as creatures reacting, adapting, and interacting to the constant rhythmic tensions inherent in everyday experience. It is this thesis's aspirations to mold both Camus and Dewey's naturalistic humanism into an alike metaphysical starting point. The assumption to be propounded is that, for both, humans inherit a limited disposition from their natural setting and this relativity, imposed by Mother Nature, is the root of all meaning.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 70-71).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Hodgson, Christopher Allen (2004). Absurd limits: Camus, Dewey, and metaphysics. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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