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Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position, sometimes called an anti-philosophy, which argues that Being, especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. Nihilists generally assert some or all of the following: The Nihilist movement was an 1860s Russian cultural movement which rejected existing authorities and values. ... A related article is titled uncertainty. ... Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning without, and gnosticism or gnosis, meaning knowledge) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism... “Uncertain” redirects here. ... Probability is the likelihood that something is the case or will happen. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with estimation. ... For other uses, see Believe. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. ... A related article is titled uncertainty. ... Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... In ontology, a being is anything that can be said to be, either transcendantly or immanently. ... Purpose in its most general sense is the anticipated aim which guides action. ... Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, François Lemoyne, 1737 For other uses, see Truth (disambiguation). ... Value redirects here. ...

  • there is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator,
  • a "true morality" does not exist, and
  • objective secular ethics are impossible;

therefore, life has, in a sense, no truth, and no action is objectively preferable to any other. This article concerns secularity, that is, being secular, in various senses. ...


The term nihilism is sometimes used synonymously with anomie to denote a general mood of despair at the pointlessness of existence.[1] Anomie, in contemporary English, means a condition or malaise in individuals, characterized by an absence or diminution of standards or values. ...


Nihilism is often more of a charge leveled against a particular idea, movement, or group, than it is an actual philosophical position to which one overtly subscribes. Movements such as Dada, Futurism,[2] and deconstructionism,[3] among others, have been identified by commentators as "nihilistic" at various times in various contexts. Often this means or is meant to imply that the beliefs of the accuser are more substantial or truthful, whereas the beliefs of the accused are nihilistic, and thereby comparatively amount to nothing (or are simply claimed to be destructively amoralistic). Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... Futurism was a 20th century art movement. ... Deconstruction is a term in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences, denoting a process by which the texts and languages of Western philosophy (in particular) appear to shift and complicate in meaning when read in light of the assumptions and absences they reveal within themselves. ... See also Morality and Ethics. ...


Nihilism is also a characteristic that has been ascribed to time periods: for example, Jean Baudrillard and others have called postmodernity a nihilistic epoch,[4] and some Christian theologians and figures of religious authority have asserted that postmodernity[5] and many aspects of modernity[3] represent the rejection of God, and therefore are nihilistic. Jean Baudrillard (July 29, 1929 – March 6, 2007) (IPA pronunciation: [1]) was a French cultural theorist, philosopher, political commentator, and photographer. ... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used to describe the social and cultural implications of postmodernism. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used to describe the social and cultural implications of postmodernism. ... Modernity is a term used to describe the condition of being modern. Since the term modern is used to describe a wide range of periods, modernity must be understood in its context. ...


Nihilism is sometimes compared to skepticism, in that both positions entail a rejection of claims to knowledge and truth. However, skeptics are often offended by this comparison, pointing out they don't in fact reject claims to truth outright; they only reject these claims if there is insufficient empirical evidence to support them. A counterpoint is that skepticism does not necessarily come to any conclusions about the reality of moral concepts nor does it deal so intimately with questions about the meaning of an existence without knowable truth. In the domain of ethics, nihilist or nihilistic is often used as a derogatory term referring to a complete rejection of all systems of authority, morality, and normativity, or one who purportedly makes such a rejection. Either through the rejection of previously accepted bases of belief or through extreme relativism or skepticism, the moral nihilist is construed as one who believes that none of these claims to power are valid. Nihilism not only dismisses received moral values, but rejects 'morality' outright. This article is about the psychological term. ... Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. ... In philosophy, meta-ethics or analytic ethics [1] is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, and ethical statements, attitudes, and judgments. ... For the philosophical movement, see Existentialism. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... In philosophy, moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. ... In meta-ethics, moral skepticism is a theory which maintains either that ethical claims are generally false, or else that we cannot sufficiently justify any ethical claims, and must therefore maintain doubt about whether they are true or false. ... Moral nihilism (also known as error theory) is the meta-ethical view that there are no moral facts, where facts are (roughly) true propositions. ...

Contents

Historical development

Though the term nihilism was first popularized by the novelist Ivan Turgenev, it was first introduced into philosophical discourse by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743 – 1819), who used the term to characterize rationalism, and in particular Immanuel Kant's "critical" philosophy in order to carry out a reductio ad absurdum according to which all rationalism (philosophy as criticism) reduces to nihilism, and thus it should be avoided and replaced with a return to some type of faith and revelation. A related concept is fideism. Ivan Turgenev, photo by Félix Nadar (1820-1910) “Turgenev” redirects here. ... Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (January 25, 1743 - March 10, 1819), was a German philosopher who made his mark on philosophy by coining the term nihilism and promoting it as the prime fault of Enlightenment thought and Kantianism. ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... Kant redirects here. ... Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: reduction to the absurd) also known as an apagogical argument, reductio ad impossibile, or proof by contradiction, is a type of logical argument where one assumes a claim for the sake of argument, derives an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and then concludes that the original assumption... For other uses, see Faith (disambiguation). ... Revelation of the Last Judgment by Jacob de Backer Revelation is an uncovering or disclosure via communication from the divine of something that has been partially or wholly hidden or unknown, which could not be known apart from the unveiling (Goswiller 1987 p. ... In Christian theology, fideism is any of several belief systems which hold, on various grounds, that reason is irrelevant to religious faith. ...


Nihilism is often associated with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views accorded with certain aspects of one reading of the position; the modern definition, however, does not apply to him.[6] For while Nietzsche could be accurately categorized as a nihilist in the descriptive sense, he never advocated nihilism as a practical mode of living and was typically quite critical of nihilism as he construed it.[7][6] His later work displays a preoccupation with nihilism. Nietzsche characterized nihilism as emptying the world and especially human existence of meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. He hints that nihilism can become a false belief, when it leads individuals to discard any hope of meaning in the world and thus to invent some compensatory alternate measure of significance. Nietzsche used the phrase 'Christians and other nihilists', which is in line with his low estimation of Christianity in general. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (IPA: ) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is...


Another prominent philosopher who has written on the subject is Martin Heidegger, who argued that "[the term] nihilism has a very specific meaning. What remains unquestioned and forgotten in metaphysics is being; and hence, it is nihilistic."[8] Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) (IPA ) was a highly influential German philosopher. ...


Nietzschean nihilism

While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche. In most contexts, Nietzsche defined the term as any philosophy that results in an apathy toward life and a poisoning of the human soul—and opposed it vehemently. He describes it as "the will to nothingness" or, more specifically: “Nietzschean” redirects here. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (IPA: ) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher. ... This article is about nothing in the abstract sense. ...

A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos — at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, section 585, translated by Walter Kaufmann Walter Arnold Kaufmann (July 1, 1921 - September 4, 1980) was a 20th-century Jewish German philosopher, scholar, and poet. ...

Nietzsche asserts that this nihilism is a result of valuing nonexistent or non-extant "higher", "heavenly", or "divine" things (such as God). The nihilist who began by holding these values, after rejecting them, retains a belief that all "lower", "earthly", or "human" ideas are valueless (or so little valuable as to be essentially valueless) because they were considered so in the previous belief system. In this interpretation, any form of idealism, after being rejected by the idealist, leads to nihilism. Moreover, this is the source of "inconsistency on the part of the nihilists". The nihilist continues to believe that only "higher" values and truths are worthy of being called such, but rejects the idea that they exist. Because of this rejection, all ideas described as true or valuable are rejected by the nihilist as impossible because they do not meet the previously established standards.


In this sense, it is the philosophical equivalent to the Russian political movement: the leap beyond skepticism — the desire to destroy meaning, knowledge, and value. To Nietzsche, it was irrational because the human soul thrives on value. Nihilism, then, was in a sense like suicide and mass murder all at once. He considered faith in the categories of reason, seeking either to overcome or ignore nature, to be the cause of such nihilism. "We have measured the value of the world according to categories that refer to a purely fictitious world".[9] He saw this philosophy as present in Christianity (which he described as 'slave morality'), Buddhism, morality, asceticism and any excessively skeptical philosophy. The Nihilist movement was an 1860s Russian cultural movement which rejected existing authorities and values. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behaviour) has three principal meanings. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


As the first philosopher to study nihilism extensively, however, Nietzsche was also quite influenced by its ideas. And while he would endorse neither its modern definition nor the definition given above, he certainly was a nihilist in an important sense. Nietzsche's complex relationship with nihilism is most evident in the following well-known quote:

I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism's] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!

Friedrich Nietzsche, Complete Works Vol. 13

While this may appear to imply his allegiance to the nihilist viewpoint, it would be more accurate to say that Nietzsche saw the coming of nihilism as valuable in the long term. According to Nietzsche, it is only once nihilism is overcome that a culture can have a true foundation upon which to thrive. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure.[6]


Nietzsche's philosophy also shares with nihilism a rejection of any perfect source of absolute, universal and transcendent values.[7] Still, he did not consider all values of equal worth. Recognizing the chaos of nihilism, he advocated a philosophy that willfully transcends it. Furthermore, his positive attitude towards truth as a vehicle of faith and belief and his recognition of (human) nature distinguishes him from the extreme pessimism that nihilism is often associated with.[6]

'To the clean are all things clean' — thus say the people. I, however, say unto you: To the swine all things become swinish! Therefore preach the visionaries and bowed-heads (whose hearts are also bowed down): 'The world itself is a filthy monster.' For these are all unclean spirits; especially those, however, who have no peace or rest, unless they see the world FROM THE BACKSIDE — the backworldsmen! TO THOSE do I say it to the face, although it sound unpleasantly: the world resembleth man, in that it hath a backside, — SO MUCH is true! There is in the world much filth: SO MUCH is true! But the world itself is not therefore a filthy monster!

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra “Also sprach Zarathustra” redirects here. ...

A major cause of Nietzsche's continued association with nihilism is his famous proclamation that "God is dead." This is Nietzsche's way of saying that the idea of God is no longer capable of acting as a source of any moral code or teleology. God is dead, then, in the sense that his existence is now irrelevant to the bulk of humanity. "And we," writes Nietzsche in The Gay Science, "have killed him." Alternately, some have interpreted Nietzsche's comment to be a statement of faith that the world has no rational order. Nietzsche also believed that, even though Christian morality is nihilistic, without God humanity is left with no epistemological or moral base from which we can derive absolute beliefs. Thus, even though nihilism has been a threat in the past, through Christianity, Platonism, and various political movements that aim toward a distant utopian future, and any other philosophy that devalues human life and the world around us (and any philosophy that devalues the world around us by privileging some other or future world necessarily devalues human life), Nietzsche tells us it is also a threat for humanity's future. This warning can also be taken as a polemic against 19th and 20th century scientism. God is dead (German:  ; also known as the death of God) is a widely-quoted and sometimes misconstrued statement by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. ... Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behaviour) has three principal meanings. ... Teleology (telos: end, purpose) is the philosophical study of design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in nature or human creations. ... The Gay Science [German: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (la gaya scienza)], is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. ... Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. ... For other uses, see Utopia (disambiguation). ... Look up Polemic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Scientism is a term mainly used as a pejorative[1][2][3] to accuse someone of holding that science has primacy over all other interpretations of life such as religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations. ...


Nietzsche advocated a remedy for nihilism's destructive effects and a hope for humanity's future in the form of the Übermensch (English: overman or superman), a position especially apparent in his works Thus Spoke Zarathustra and The Antichrist. The Übermensch is an exercise of action and life: one must give value to their existence by behaving as if one's very existence were a work of art. Nietzsche believed that the Übermensch "exercise" would be a necessity for human survival in the post-religious era. Another part of Nietzsche's remedy for nihilism is a revaluation of morals — he hoped that we are able to discard the old morality of equality and servitude and adopt a new code, turning Judeo-Christian morality on its head. Excess, carelessness, callousness, and sin, then, are not the damning acts of a person with no regard for his salvation, nor that which plummets a society toward decadence and decline, but the signifier of a soul already withering and the sign that a society is in decline. The only true sin to Nietzsche is that which is — against a human nature — aimed at the expression and venting of one's power over oneself. Virtue, likewise, is not to act according to what has been commanded, but to contribute to all that betters a human soul. The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... “Also sprach Zarathustra” redirects here. ... In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist is a person or other entity that is the embodiment of evil and utterly opposed to truth. ... Jacob wrestling an angel, by Gustave Doré (1832-1883), a shared Judeo-Christian story. ... For other uses, see Salvation (disambiguation). ... See also Decadent movement Decadence refers to a personal trait and, much more commonly, to a state of society. ... Personification of virtue (Greek ἀρετή) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a person. ...


Nietzsche attempts to reintroduce what he calls a master morality, which values personal excellence over forced compassion and creative acts of will over the herd instinct, a moral outlook he attributes to the ancient Greeks. The Christian moral ideals developed in opposition to this master morality, he says, as the reversal of the value system of the elite social class due to the oppressed class' resentment of their Roman masters. Nietzsche, however, did not believe that humans should adopt master morality as the be-all-end-all code of behavior - he believed that the revaluation of morals would correct the inconsistencies in both master and slave morality - but simply that master morality was preferable to slave morality, although this is debatable. Walter Kaufmann, for one, disagrees that Nietzsche actually preferred master morality to slave morality. He certainly gives slave morality a much harder time, but this is partly because he believes that slave morality is modern society's more imminent danger. The Antichrist had been meant as the first book in a four-book series, "Toward a Re-Evaluation of All Morals", which might have made his views more explicit, but Nietzsche was afflicted by mental collapse that rendered him unable to write the later three books. One of the themes of Friedrich Nietzsches works was master morality vs. ... Ancient Greece is the term used to describe the Greek_speaking world in ancient times. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... History - Ancient history - Ancient Rome This is a List of Ancient Rome-related topics, that aims to include aspects of both the Ancient Roman Republic and Roman Empire. ... Walter Arnold Kaufmann (July 1, 1921 - September 4, 1980) was a 20th-century Jewish German philosopher, scholar, and poet. ... The Antichrist (German: Der Antichrist) is a book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1895. ...


Postmodernism and the breakdown of knowledge

Postmodern thought is coloured by the perception of a degeneration of systems of epistemology and ethics into extreme relativism, something especially evident in the writings of Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida. These philosophers tend to deny the very grounds on which Western cultures have based their 'truths': absolute knowledge and meaning, a 'decentralization' of authorship, the accumulation of positive knowledge, historical progress, and the ideals of humanism and the Enlightenment. Though it is often described as a fundamentally nihilistic philosophy, nihilism itself is open to postmodern criticism: nihilism is a claim to a universal truth (i.e. the proposition "existence lacks meaning" as universally true), exactly that which postmodernism rejects. Postmodern philosophy is an eclectic and elusive movement characterized by its criticism of Western philosophy. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... For the physics theory with a similar name, see Theory of Relativity. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Jacques Derrida (IPA: in French [1], in English ) (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ... For this articles equivalent regarding the East, see Eastern culture. ... See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities... ...


Lyotard argues that, rather than relying on an objective truth or method to prove their claims, philosophers legitimize their truths by reference to a story about the world which is inseparable from the age and system the stories belong to, referred to by Lyotard as meta-narratives. He then goes on to define the postmodern condition as one characterized by a rejection both of these meta-narratives and of the process of legitimation by meta-narratives. "In lieu of meta-narratives we have created new language-games in order to legitimize our claims which rely on changing relationships and mutable truths, none of which is privileged over the other to speak to ultimate truth." This concept of the instability of truth and meaning leads in the direction of nihilism, though Lyotard stops short of embracing the latter. For other uses of objectivity, see objectivity (disambiguation). ... In critical theory, and particularly postmodernism, a metanarrative is a grand overarching account, or all-encompassing story, which is thought to give order to the historical record. ... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used to describe the social and cultural implications of postmodernism. ... Legitimation is the act of providing legitimacy to a child born out of wedlock. ... A language game (also called secret language or ludling) is a system of manipulating spoken words to render them incomprehensible to the untrained ear. ...


Postmodern theorist Jean Baudrillard wrote briefly of nihilism from the postmodern viewpoint in Simulacra and Simulation. He stuck mainly to topics of interpretations of the real world over the simulations that the real world is composed of. The uses of meaning was an important subject in Baudrillard's discussion of nihilism: Jean Baudrillard (July 29, 1929 – March 6, 2007) (IPA pronunciation: [1]) was a French cultural theorist, philosopher, political commentator, and photographer. ... Simulacra and Simulation (Simulacres et Simulation in French), published in 1981, is a philosophical treatise by Jean Baudrillard. ... The term Real World or real world may mean: the stage of life that one enters after completing ones schooling, as in the sentence, After students enter the real world, they may not be able to sleep late as often as they did while in school. ...

The apocalypse is finished, today it is the precession of the neutral, of forms of the neutral and of indifference…all that remains, is the fascination for desertlike and indifferent forms, for the very operation of the system that annihilates us. Now, fascination (in contrast to seduction, which was attached to appearances, and to dialectical reason, which was attached to meaning) is a nihilistic passion par excellence, it is the passion proper to the mode of disappearance. We are fascinated by all forms of disappearance, of our disappearance. Melancholic and fascinated, such is our general situation in an era of involuntary transparency. Look up Apocalypse in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, "On Nihilism", trans. 1995

Mereological nihilism

Main article: Mereological nihilism

In a very different vein, contemporary analytic philosophers have been engaged in a very active discussion over the past few years about what is called mereological nihilism. This is the position that objects with parts do not exist, but rather are merely basic building blocks without parts (e.g., electrons, quarks), and thus the world we see and experience full of objects with parts is a product of human misperception. Jeffrey Grupp of Purdue University, argues for a doctrine of mereological nihilism, maintaining that there are no objects whatsoever which have parts.[10] Grupp argues that mereological nihilism is the standard position of many ancient atomists, such as Democritus of ancient Greece, Dharmakirti of ancient India, that it is the position held by Kant in his transcendental idealism, and that it is the interpretation implied by findings in quantum observational physics.[11] Other contemporary mereological nihilists are not atomists, instead advocating a slightly different theory called simples, and such philosophers include Trenton Merricks of the University of Virginia, and Peter van Inwagen of the University of Notre Dame. Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism, or what some philosophers just call nihilism) is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist (not only objects in space, but also objects existing in time do not have any temporal parts), and only basic building blocks without parts exist (e. ... Analytic philosophy (sometimes, analytical philosophy) is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century. ... Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism, or what some philosophers just call nihilism) is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist (not only objects in space, but also objects existing in time do not have any temporal parts), and only basic building blocks without parts exist (e. ... A cloth of woven carbon fiber filaments, a common element in composite materials Composite materials (or composites for short) are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties and which remain separate and distinct on a macroscopic level within the finished structure. ... This page may meet Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... Atomism is the theory that all the objects in the universe are composed of very small particles that were not created and that will have no end. ... ‎ Democritus (Greek: ) was a pre-Socratic Greek materialist philosopher (born at Abdera in Thrace ca. ... Dharmakirti (circa 7th century), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. ... Transcendental idealism is a doctrine founded by 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... An editor has expressed a concern that the subject of the article does not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. ... The University of Virginia (also called U.Va. ... Peter van Inwagen is John Cardinal OHara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. ... The University of Notre Dame IPA: is a Catholic[4] institution located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated section of St. ...


Self-consistency and paradox

Nihilism is often described as a belief in the nonexistence of truth. In its more extreme forms, such a belief is difficult to justify, because it contains a variation on the liar paradox: if it is true that truth does not exist, the statement "truth does not exist" is itself a truth, therefore showing itself to be inconsistent. A formally identical criticism has been leveled against relativism and the verifiability theory of meaning of logical positivism. In philosophy and logic, the liar paradox encompasses paradoxical statements such as: I am lying now. ... For the physics theory with a similar name, see Theory of Relativity. ... In the early twentieth century, the logical positivists put forth what came to be known as the verifiability theory of meaning. ... Logical positivism grew from the discussions of Moritz Schlicks Vienna Circle and Hans Reichenbachs Berlin Circle in the 1920s and 1930s. ...


A more sophisticated interpretation of the claim might be that while truth may exist, it is inaccessible in practice, but this leaves open the problem of how the nihilist has accessed it. It may be a reasonable reply that the nihilist has not accessed truth directly, but has come to the conclusion, based on past experience, that truth is ultimately unattainable within the confines of human circumstance. Thus, since nihilists believe they have learned that truth cannot be attained in this life, they look upon the activities of those rigorously seeking truth as futile. Of course one may add that nihilism is a self fulfilling prophecy, as without making any attempts to attain the truth one is presumably less likely to find it. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true. ...


Extreme versions of nihilism would maintain that the truth of logical propositions cannot be known, so the fact that nihilism leads to a contradiction isn't a problem, since contradictions are only problematic for those who accept logic. The classification of nihilism as a 'belief' can also be contested, as believing one is a nihilist would summount to believing in something and having a belief, a position incompatible with some interpretations of nihilism.


Cultural manifestations

In art

There have been various movements in art, such as surrealism and cubism, which have been criticized for touching on nihilism, and others like Dada which have embraced it openly. More generally, modern art has been criticized as nihilistic due to its often non-representative nature, as happened with the Nazi party's Degenerate art exhibit. In some Stalinist regimes, modern art is also seen as degenerative, and rules for "aesthetic realism" are forged to stop its influence over public and artist themselves. Max Ernst. ... Pablo Picasso, Le guitariste, 1910 Juan Gris, Portrait of Picasso, 1912, oil on canvas Georges BraqueWoman with a guitar, 1913 Juan Gris, Still Life with Fruit Dish and Mandolin, 1919, oil on canvas Cubist villa in Prague, Czech Republic Cubist House of the Black Madonna, Prague, Czech Republic, 1912 Cubism... Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... Dejeuner sur lHerbe by Pablo Picasso At the Moulin Rouge: Two Women Waltzing by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892 The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893 I and the Village by Marc Chagall, 1911 Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917 Campbells Soup Cans 1962 Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler and Adolf Ziegler visit the entartete Kunst exhibition. ... Dejeuner sur lHerbe by Pablo Picasso At the Moulin Rouge: Two Women Waltzing by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892 The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893 I and the Village by Marc Chagall, 1911 Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917 Campbells Soup Cans 1962 Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two... Aesthetic Realism is the philosophy founded by the American poet and critic Eli Siegel in 1941. ...


Nihilistic themes can be found in literature and music as well. This is especially true of contemporary music and literature, where the uncertainty following what some perceive as the demise of modernism is explored in detail. Rorschach from Alan Moore's universally acclaimed graphic novel Watchmen is a borderline Nihilist who says, "We are born to scrawl our own designs upon this morally blank world" and observes that existence "Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long". Also, the band Showbread has an album called No Sir, Nihilism is not Practical. Rorschach is a fictional character, a superhero featured in the acclaimed 1986 DC Comics series Watchmen. ... For other persons named Alan Moore, see Alan Moore (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Watchman. ... Showbread is a Christian Post-hardcore/Alternative band from the Savannah, Georgia area. ...


Nihilism can be seen in the Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral, especially in the song titled "Heresy", in which the chorus states "God is Dead/and no one cares/if there is a hell/I'll see you there". The plot of the concept album has extremely self-destructive themes, depicting drug addiction, suicide, isolation, hate, and the throwing away of an religious or moral beliefs. Alternate cover Deluxe Edition cover art Singles from The Downward Spiral Released: February 25, 1994 Released: May 30, 1994 The Downward Spiral (also known as Halo 8) is an LP by Nine Inch Nails (NIN), released in 1994. ... In popular music, a concept album is an album which is unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical (Shuker 2002, p. ...


Dada

The term Dada was first used during World War I, an event that precipitated the movement, which lasted from approximately 1916 to 1923. The Dada Movement began in the old town of Zürich, Switzerland known as the "Niederdorf" or "Niederdörfli," which is now sporadically inhabited by dadaist squatters. The Dadaists claimed that Dada was not an art movement, but an anti-art movement, sometimes using found objects in a manner similar to found poetry and labeling them art, thus undermining ideas of what art is and what it can be. The "anti-art" drive is thought to have stemmed from a post-war emptiness that lacked passion or meaning in life. Sometimes Dadaists paid attention to aesthetic guidelines only so they could be avoided, attempting to render their works devoid of meaning and aesthetic value. This tendency toward devaluation of art has led many to claim that Dada was an essentially nihilist movement; a destruction without creation. War and destruction had washed away peoples' mindset of creation and aesthetic. Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Anti art is a work that is exhibited or delivered in a conventional context but makes fun of serious art or challenges the nature of art. ... Found poetry is the rearrangement of words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages that are taken from other sources and reframed as poetry by changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. ... This article should be transwikied to wiktionary The term post-war is generally used for the period after the end of World War II, i. ... Aesthetics (or esthetics) (from the Greek word αισθητική) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty. ...


In film

The defining contemporary portrayal of Nihilism as a central theme is arguably Fight Club, usually expressed by the antagonist's credo "It is only after we have lost everything that we are free to do anything." However, while the makers of the movie may have meant this to be nihilist, it references more closely the Existential belief that free will is infinite responsibility. The film describes the unnamed narrator's disillusionment with the search for meaning in consumerist emasculated society, and his subsequent Nietzschean reaction. A more fatalist treatment of nihilism is in the later I ♥ Huckabees, an indie film which includes nihilism among other theories to develop the film's take on life in general. A similar use of nihilism as a study in futility and meaninglessness can be seen in Jim Jarmusch's 2005 film Broken Flowers. Fight Club is a 1999 feature film adaptation of the 1996 novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, adapted by Jim Uhls and directed by David Fincher. ... I ♥ Huckabees is a film released in 2004. ... Jim Jarmusch Jim Jarmusch (born January 22, 1953 in Akron, Ohio) is a noted American independent film director. ... Broken Flowers is a 2005 comedy-drama film directed and written by Jim Jarmusch and produced by Jon Kilik and Stacey Smith. ...


The 1998 movie The Big Lebowski written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, without treating nihilism as a serious thematic concern, uses several Nihilist characters as comic narrative devices. Three black-clad men with German accents confront protagonist "The Dude" (Lebowski) claiming "We are Nihilists, Lebowski. We believe in nothing. Yeah, nothing." Also, upon being told that a man on a chair that is floating in a pool with a bottle of Jack Daniels next to him is a nihilist, "The Dude" responds "Oh, that must be exhausting." This satirical treatment of nihilists is in contrast with one of the earliest nihilist characters in cinema, "Animal Mother" in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Animal Mother is a machine gunner who believes victory should be the only object of war, is contemptuous of any authority other than his own and rules by intimidation. The Big Lebowski, a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, chronicles a few days in the life of a burned-out, unemployed California slacker after he is mistaken for a millionaire with the same name. ... Joel and Ethan Coen, commonly called The Coen Brothers in the film business, are United States directors best known for their quirky comedies like Fargo and Raising Arizona; the brothers write their own scripts and alternate top billing for the screenplay. ... Joel and Ethan Coen, commonly called The Coen Brothers in the film business, are United States directors best known for their quirky comedies like Fargo and Raising Arizona; the brothers write their own scripts and alternate top billing for the screenplay. ... The distinctive bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey is familiar around the world. ... Kubrick redirects here. ... For the type of ammunition, see Full metal jacket bullet. ...


References

  1. ^ ;Bazarov, the protagonist in the classic work Fathers and Sons written in the early 1860s by Ivan Turgenev, is quoted as saying nihilism is "just cursing", cited in Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Macmillan, 1967) Vol. 5, "Nihilism", 514 ff. This source states as follows: "On the one hand, the term is widely used to denote the doctrine that moral norms or standards cannot be justified by rational argument. On the other hand, it is widely used to denote a mood of despair over the emptiness or triviality of human existence. This double meaning appears to derive from the fact that the term was often employed in the nineteenth century by the religiously oriented as a club against atheists, atheists being regarded as ipso facto nihilists in both senses. The atheist, it was held [by the religiously oriented], would not feel bound by moral norms; consequently, he would tend to be callous or selfish, even criminal." (at p515) Elsewhere, Stanley Rosen identifies Nietzsche's equation of nihilism with "the situation which obtains when 'everything is permitted.'" Cf. Rosen, Stanley. Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1969. p. xiii.
  2. ^ Kleiner, Fred S. and Mamiya, Christin J. (2005) . Gardner's Art Through the Ages, 12th edition, Wadsworth Publishing, page 980. Dada artists have self-characterized the artform in a way that lends easily to a characterization as nihilistic: Dada artists described the movement as "a phenomenon bursting forth in the midst of the postwar economic and moral crisis, a savior, a monster, which would lay waste to everything in its path. [It was] a systematic work of destruction and demoralization…In the end it became nothing but an act of sacrilege." Also noted in Kleiner is that Dada was "a revolt against a world that was capable of unspeakable horrors." Reason and logic had led people into the horrors of war; the only route to salvation was to reject logic and embrace anarchy and the irrational.
  3. ^ a b See, for example, Phillips, Robert: "Deconstructing the Mass", in Latin Mass Magazine, Winter, 1999. The author asserts, inter alia: "For deconstructionists, not only is there no truth to know, there is no self to know it and so there is no soul to save or lose." and "In following the Enlightenment to its logical end, deconstruction reaches nihilism. The meaning of human life is reduced to whatever happens to interest us at the moment ..." [1]
  4. ^ For some examples of the view that postmodernity is a nihilistic epoch see Toynbee, Arnold (1963) A Study of History vols. VIII and IX; Mills, C. Wright (1959) The Sociological Imagination; Bell, Daniel (1976) The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism; and Baudrillard, Jean (1993) "Game with Vestiges" in Baudrillard Live, ed. Mike Gane and (1994) "On Nihilism" in Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila Faria Glasser. For examples of the view that postmodernism is a nihilistic mode of thought, see Rose, Gillian (1984) Dialectic of Nihilism; Carr, Karen L. (1988) The Banalization of Nihilism; and Pope John-Paul II (1995), Evangelium vitae: Il valore e l’inviolabilita delta vita umana. Milan: Paoline Editoriale Libri.", all cited in Woodward, Ashley: NIHILISM AND THE POSTMODERN IN VATTIMO'S NIETZSCHE, ISSN 1393-614X Minerva - An Internet Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 6, 2002, fn 1. [2]
  5. ^ See, for example, Christian Research Institute's, "THE POSTMODERN CHALLENGE: Facing the Spirit of the Age" by Jim Leffel and Dennis McCallum, refers inter alia to "...the nihilism and loneliness of postmodern culture..." [3]
  6. ^ a b c d Steven Michels - Nietzsche, Nihilism, and the Virtue of Nature, Dogma, 2004,
  7. ^ a b Cline, Austin.: "Nihilism, Nihilists, and Nihilistic Philosophy," at About.com (2007) [4]
  8. ^ Korab-Karpowicz, W. J.: "Martin Heidegger," in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2006) [5]
  9. ^ The Will to Power, 12b
  10. ^ [6] Abstract Atom
  11. ^ [7] Grupp, Jeffrey. "The R Theory of Time"
  • Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich (1886). Beyond Good and Evil. Project Gutenberg eText.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spake Zarathustra. Project Gutenberg eText.
  • Nietzsche: Nihilism (Volume IV), Martin Heidegger, Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA, 1982.
  • Nihilism, The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose, Fr. Seraphim Rose Foundation, Forestville, CA, 1994,1995.
  • Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism, Karl Löwith, Columbia University Press, New York, NY, 1995.
  • Nihilism Before Nietzsche, Michael Allen Gillespie, University Of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1996.
  • Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay, Stanley Rosen, St. Augustine's Press (2nd Edition), South Bend, Indiana, 2000.
  • Shows About Nothing: Nihilism in Popular Culture from The Exorcist to Seinfeld, Thomas S. Hibbs, Spence Publishing Company, Dallas, TX, 2000.
  • Genealogy of Nihilism: Philosophies of Nothing & the Difference of Theology, Conor Cunningham, Routledge, New York, NY, 2002.
  • Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism, John Marmysz, SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 2003.
  • I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism, Peter S. Williams.
  • Nihilism and the Sublime Postmodern: The (Hi)Story of a Difficult Relationship, Will Slocombe, Routledge, New York, NY, 2006.

For information about the band, see Atheist (band). ... The will to power (German: Der Wille zur Macht) is a concept prominent in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. ... The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (hereafter SEP) is a free online encyclopedia of philosophy run and maintained by Stanford University. ... The Gay Science [German: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (la gaya scienza)], is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. ...

See also

The American Nihilist Underground Society, or A.N.U.S., is an organization known for spreading its interpretation of the philosophy of nihilism, and for its website, www. ... In philosophy, the term anti-realism is used to describe any position involving either the denial of the objective reality of entities of a certain type or the insistence that we should be agnostic about their real existence. ... Anarchist redirects here. ... In philosophy, contextualism describes a collection of views in the philosophy of language which emphasize the context in which an action, utterance or expression occurs, and argues that, in some important respect, the action, utterance or expression can only be understood within that context. ... Cosmicism was a philosophy that arouse around the 1920s, by the hands of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. ... This article is about the current understanding of the word cynicism. ... The Scream. ... The Scream by Edvard Munch (1893) which inspired 20th century Expressionists Portrait of Eduard Kosmack by Egon Schiele Rehe im Walde by Franz Marc Elbe Bridge I by Rolf Nesch On White II by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... Gianni Vattimo at the National Gay Pride march, Como, 1999 Gianni Vattimo (born January 4, 1936) is an internationally recognized Italian author and politician. ... Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of hierarchy and imposed authority. ... Ivan Turgenev, photo by Félix Nadar (1820-1910) “Turgenev” redirects here. ... Luigi Pirandello (June 28, 1867 – December 10, 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, and short story writer awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934. ... In philosophy, materialism is that form of physicalism which holds that the only thing that can truly be said to exist is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions; that matter is the only substance. ... Johann Kaspar Schmidt (October 25, 1806 – June 26, 1856), better known as Max Stirner (the nom de plume he adopted from a schoolyard nickname he had acquired as a child because of his high brow Stirn), was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary grandfathers of nihilism... Metaphysical Nihilism Metaphysical nihilism is the theory that there are no objects (objects do not exist). ... Paul Karl Feyerabend (January 13, 1924 – February 11, 1994) was an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for three decades (1958-1989). ... Pessimists see the world as uninviting and cruel. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... The speedy deletion of this page is contested. ... Zero Artistic Movement (ZAM) is an anti-art movement. ...

External links

Look up nihilism in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Center for Nihilist and Nihilism Studies @ nihil.org (1001 words)
Nihilism is "a belief in nothingness," and since most people live exclusively in fantasy (even if of a socially-prescribed and "scientifically"-justified type), they have little use for something that negates what they take for granted.
Nihilism is a belief in nothingness, which if interpreted from the human perspective in which it is defined, means a human nothingness; it is a recognition that human reality is secondary to the natural world and its laws and operations.
Nihilism is a rejection of individualism as an objective concept, and an affirmation of both (1) the objective world of events and objects, e.g.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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