Much discussion of Camus and colonialism relies on the discourse of Algerian nationalism, where history itself was censored in favour of myth. This influence raises ethical issues about the treatment of empirical evidence when faced with nationalist ideology, particularly when this ideology emanates from a state repeatedly accused of torturing its own citizens. The abandonment of this conceptual framework enables investigation of those areas it excludes, such as religion, extreme forms of violence, and a history that did not begin in 1830. Knowledge of Algerian history rather than its ideological counterpart is essential for an assessment of Camus's treatment of history. Through reference to 'Le Renégat ou un esprit confus' the aim here is to show that empirical evidence is central to an understanding of this story's possible meanings.