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‘Nothing Matters’

Is ‘the Annihilation of Values’ something that could happen?
  • R. M. Hare
Chapter
Part of the New Studies in Practical Philosophy book series

Abstract

I want to start by telling you a story about something which once happened in my house in Oxford — I cannot remember now all the exact details, but will do my best to be accurate. It was about nine years ago, and we had staying with us a Swiss boy from Lausanne; he was about 18 years old and had just left school. He came of a Protestant family and was both sincerely religious and full of the best ideals. My wife and I do not read French very well, and so we had few French books in the house; but those we had we put by his bedside; they included one or two anthologies of French poetry, the works of Villon, the confessions of Rousseau and, lastly, L’Etranger by Camus. After our friend had been with us for about a week, and we thought we were getting to know him as a cheerful, vigorous, enthusiastic young man of a sort that anybody is glad to know, he surprised us one morning by asking for cigarettes — he had not smoked at all up till then — and retiring to his room, where he smoked them one after the other, coming down hurriedly to meals, during which he would say nothing at all. After dinner in the evening, at which he ate little, he said he would go for a walk.

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Copyright information

© R. M. Hare 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Hare
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordUK

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