Rationalism, as it is used in this essay, is the belief that human reason can make sense of the universe. This is the hallmark of the great philosophical system builders who believe that they can find a reasonable explanation for everything that happens in life. Camus is vehemently opposed to this notion, suggesting that life is fundamentally absurd and that we cannot find any rational order in the universe. Though he rehearses a few arguments against rationalism, Camus never seems to enter into a philosophical debate with rationalist philosophy. His rejection of rationalism seems to be born more from a deep-set conviction than from a reasoned argument. Camus is interested in whether we can live only with what we are certain of, and with what we find in this life. Because we cannot be certain that the universe has a coherent order, and because a full understanding of this order is beyond our abilities as human beings, Camus rejects rationalism. He does not say that rationalism is wrong so much as he says that it is something he wants to do without.

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