The short first section defines what Camus means by an act of rebellion and goes on to examine what value judgements need to be present. It leads into a longer second section titled "Metaphysical Rebellion" and it is here that Camus talks about "a man protesting about his condition and against the whole of creation" He says it is metaphysical because it disputes the ends of man and of creation. Remembering how Camus had defined his idea of an absurd world in the [Myth of Sisyphus] and his thoughts on Nihilism then this series of essays examines in what sort of state Nihilism has left modern European man. (circa 1950's). He looks at the world through the eyes and thoughts of the Marquis de Sade and Nietzsche attempting to show how they as intellectual rebels have challenged the prevailing thoughts, but have ended up in the trough of Nihilism. There are some difficult ideas to grasp here and Philip Thody in his book [Albert Camus: A study of his work] sums it up well:
is a 1951 book-length essay by Albert Camus, which treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially Western Europe. Camus relates writers and artists as diverse as Epicurus and Lucretius, Marquis de Sade, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Stirner, André Breton, and others in an integrated, historical portrait of man in revolt. Examining both rebellion and revolt, which may be seen as the same phenomenon in personal and social frames, Camus examines several "countercultural" figures and movements from the history of Western thought and art, noting the importance of each in the overall development of revolutionary thought and philosophy.
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In 1951, Albert Camus published The Rebel, a book-length essay aimed at diagnosing the metaphysical significance of rebellion and revolution. Primarily centered around Western Europe, Camus adopts a riveting existentialist position on why man rebels. In this paper, I will summarize the arguments laid forth in his book, as well as provide my own thoughts. I argue that while Camus makes an interesting case for purpose in life through a well-constructed historical lens, he ultimately provides a nebulous position on what it means to be ethical. The Rebel, therefore, is best interpreted not as an ethical guide but as an existential instruction manual for how we navigate the universe.