The Passion and the Spirit: Albert Camus as Moral Politician

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. A manifesto. – III. On Camus. – IV. Camus and the virtues. – V. A smouldering continent. – V.1. Financial crisis. – V.2. Refugee flows. – V.3. Russia and Crimea. – V.4. Referenda, governance, responsibility. – VI. To conclude.

Abstract: This essays addresses the curious circumstance that for all their visibility on blogs, twitter and the 'op-ed' pages of newspapers, public intellectuals offer remarkably little ethical guidance regarding current events and crises. These intellectuals may offer their expertise (explanations, predictions), but do not provide much ethical inspiration, almost as if 'right' and 'wrong' have become meaningless categories. Things were different a few generations ago, when the likes of Albert Camus would search their souls in order to figure out how to live. This essay portrays Camus as private citizen and public moralist, and briefly discusses current political events in a mindset inspired by Camus.

Keywords: Albert Camus – virtue ethics – political crisis – Europe – public intellectuals.

European Papers, Vol. 1, 2016, No 1, pp. 13-28
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/3

* Academy Professor (Martti Ahtisaari Chair), University of Helsinki, and Visiting Research Professor, Erasmus Law School, Erasmus University Rotterdam,



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