Medical nihilism is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical interventions. Jacob Stegenga argues persuasively that this is how we should see modern medicine, and suggests that medical research must be modified, clinical practice should be less aggressive, and regulatory standards should be enhanced.
Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and inexplicable. This (...) represents a respect in which nihilism enjoys greater theoretical simplicity than its rivals which has not yet been explored, and which is immune to many of the objections which have been leveled against previous arguments for nihilism from nihilism's theoretical simplicity. Composition as identity might be thought to confer a similar degree of theoretical unification as nihilism. I end the paper by arguing that this is not the case. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the view that no objects have proper parts. Despite how counter‐intuitive it is, it is taken quite seriously, largely because it solves a number of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects – or so its proponents claim. In this article, I show that for every puzzle that mereological nihilism solves, there is a similar puzzle that (a) it doesn’t solve, and (b) every other solution to the original puzzle does solve. Since the solutions to (...) the new puzzles apply just as well to the old puzzles, the old puzzles provide no motivation to be a mereological nihilist. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the chief (...) motivations for nihilism. In this paper I defend nihilism against these objections. A key theme of the paper is this: if nihilists need to employ such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” non-nihilists will need to do so as well. Accordingly, any costs incurred by the nihilist when she employs such phrases will be shared by everyone else. What’s more, such phrases are intelligible when employed by the nihilist, as well as when they are employed by the non-nihilist, insofar as analyses of such phrases will not essentially involve mereological concepts incompatible with nihilism. (shrink)
Ontological nihilism is the radical-sounding thesis that there is nothing at all. This chapter first discusses how the most plausible forms of this thesis aim to be slightly less radical than they sound and what they will have to do in order to succeed in their less radical ambitions. In particular, they will have to paraphrase sentences of best science into ontologically innocent counterparts. The chapter then points out the defects in two less plausible strategies, before going on to (...) argue that strategies that look more promising, including one based on Quine's predicate-functor language, face the same defects. (shrink)
As the final component of a chain of reasoning intended to take us all the way to logical nihilism, Russell (2018) presents the atomic sentence ‘prem’ which is supposed to be true when featuring as premise in an argument and false when featuring as conclusion in an argument. Such a sentence requires a non-reflexive logic and an endnote by Russell (2018) could easily leave the reader with the impression that going non-reflexive suffices for logical nihilism. This paper shows (...) how one can obtain non-reflexive logics in which ‘prem’ behaves as stipulated by Russell (2018) but which nonetheless has valid inferences supporting uniform substitution of any formula for propositional variables such as modus tollens and modus ponens. (shrink)
Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, one (...) popular objection to mereological nihilism, one which contends that mereological nihilism is objectionable insofar as it is incompatible with the existence of people, is untenable. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the view that all concrete objects are simple. Existence monism is the view that the only concrete object is one big simple: the world. I will argue that nihilism culminates in monism. The nihilist demands the simplest sufficient ontology, and the monist delivers it.
Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem Was Nietzsche a nihilist? Yes, because, like J. L. Mackie, he was an error-theorist about morality, including the elitist morality to which he himself subscribed. But he was variously a diagnostician, an opponent and a survivor of certain other kinds of nihilism. Schacht argues that Nietzsche cannot have been an error theorist, since meta-ethical nihilism is inconsistent with the moral commitment that Nietzsche displayed. Schacht’s exegetical argument parallels the substantive argument (advocated (...) in recent years by Wright and Blackburn) that Mackie’s error theory can’t be true because if it were, we would have to give up morality or give up moralizing. I answer this argument with a little bit of help from Nietzsche. I then pose a problem, the Doppelganger Problem, for the meta-ethical nihilism that I attribute to Mackie and Nietzsche. (If A is a moral proposition then not-A is a moral proposition: hence not all moral propositions can be false.) I solve the problem by reformulating the error theory and also deal with a variant of the problem, the Reinforced Doppelganger, glancing at a famous paper of Ronald Dworkin’s. Thus, whatever its demerits, the error theory, is not self-refuting, nor does it require us to give up morality. (shrink)
In the twentieth century, we often think of Nietzsche, nihilism, and the death of God as inextricably connected. But, in this pathbreaking work, Michael Gillespie argues that Nietzsche, in fact, misunderstood nihilism, and that his misunderstanding has misled nearly all succeeding thought about the subject. Reconstructing nihilism's intellectual and spiritual origins before it was given its determinitive definition by Nietzsche, Gillespie focuses on the crucial turning points in the development of nihilism, from Ockham and the nominalist (...) revolution to Descartes, Fichte, the German Romantics, the Russian nihilists and Nietzsche himself. His analysis shows that nihilism is not the result of the death of God, as Nietzsche believed but the consequence of a new idea of God as a God of will who overturns all eternal standards of truth and justice. To understand nihilism, one has to understand how this notion of God came to inform a new notion of man and nature, one that puts will in place of reason, and freedom in place of necessity and order. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the view that there are no composite objects; everything in existence is mereologically simple. The view is subject to a number of difficulties, one of which concerns what I call the problem of emergence. Very briefly, the problem is that nihilism seems to be incompatible with emergent properties; it seems to rule out their very possibility. This is a problem because there are good independent reasons to believe that emergent properties are possible. This paper provides (...) a solution to the problem. I will show that nihilism and emergence are perfectly compatible, providing one accepts a novel understanding of how objects can instantiate properties: what I call irreducibly collective instantiation. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the philosophical position that there are no items that have parts. If there are no items with parts then the only items that exist are partless fundamental particles, such as the true atoms (also called philosophical atoms) theorized to exist by some ancient philosophers, some contemporary physicists, and some contemporary philosophers. With several novel arguments I show that mereological nihilism is the correct theory of reality. I will also discuss strong similarities that mereological nihilism (...) has with empirical results in quantum physics. And I will discuss how mereological nihilism vindicates a few other theories, such as a very specific theory of philosophical atomism, which I will call quantum abstract atomism. I will show that mereological nihilism also is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that avoids the problems of other interpretations, such as the widely known, metaphysically generated, quantum paradoxes of quantum physics, which ironically are typically accepted as facts about reality. I will also show why it is very surprising that mereological nihilism is not a widely held theory, and not the premier theory in philosophy. (shrink)
Nihilism in Postmodernity is an exploration of the nature of the problem of meaninglessness in the contemporary world through the philosophical traditions of nihilism and postmodernism. The author traces the advent of modern nihilism in the works of Nietzsche, Sartre, and Heidegger, before detailing the postmodern transformation of nihilism in the works of three major postmodern thinkers: Lyotard, Baudrillard, and Vattimo. He presents a qualified defense of their positions, arguing that while there is much under-appreciated value (...) in their responses to nihilism, they fail to address adequately the problem of contingency in contemporary life. Drawing on the critical encounters with nihilism in both existentialist and postmodern traditions, the author concludes by staking out future directions for combating meaninglessness. (shrink)
I believe in metaphysical nihilism, the thesis that there could have been no concrete objects, because I believe in a version of the subtraction argument, the subtraction argument*, that proves it. But both Jonathan Lowe (2002) and Alexander Paseau (2002) express doubts about the subtraction argument*. Paseau thinks the argument is invalid, and Lowe argues that invoking concrete* objects is unnecessary. Furthermore Lowe attempts to rebut my objections (Rodriguez-Pereyra 2000) to his anti-nihilist argument (Lowe 1998). In this paper I (...) defend the subtraction argument* from Paseau's and Lowe's criticisms as well as show that the premises of Lowe's anti-nihilist argument are still lacking support. (shrink)
This book brings together the philosophies of technology and nihilism to investigate how we use technologies, from Netflix and Fitbit to Twitter and Google. It diagnoses how technologies are nihilistic and how our nihilism has become technological.
Logical monists and pluralists disagree about how many correct logics there are; the monists say there is just one, the pluralists that there are more. Could it turn out that both are wrong, and that there is no logic at all?
The spectre of global environmental destruction is before us, the legacy of the expansion and domination of the world by European civilization. Not even the threat to the continued existence of humanity is enough to move the members of this civilization to alter its trajectory. And Marxism, which had held out the possibility of creating a new social order, has been swept from the historical stage by the failure of Eastern European communism. Nihilism Inc. is an attempt to overcome (...) this crisis. Examining the relationship between metaphysical assumptions, ideas, social practices, institutions and economic processes in the formation and evolution of European civilization, it offers a genealogy of its current nihilism. The theory and practice of Marxism are analysed to show why the Soviet Union proved even more environmentally destructive and even less responsive to the environmental crisis than the West. These analyses reveal the need for a radical cultural transformation, a transformation which can only be effected on the foundation of a new metaphysics. The final part of this work offers the required metaphysics, clearing the way for the creation of an environmentally sustainable civilization. (shrink)
Since Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophers have grappled with the question of how to respond to nihilism. Nihilism, often seen as a derogative term for a ‘life-denying’, destructive and perhaps most of all depressive philosophy is what drove existentialists to write about the right response to a meaningless universe devoid of purpose. This latter diagnosis is what I shall refer to as existential nihilism, the denial of meaning and purpose, a view that not only existentialists but also a long (...) line of philosophers in the empiricist tradition ascribe to. The absurd stems from the fact that though life is without meaning and the universe devoid of purpose, man still longs for meaning, significance and purpose. Inspired by Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty, two modern existentialist masterpieces, this paper explores the various alternatives that have been offered in how to respond to the absurd, or as Albert Camus puts it; the only “really serious philosophical problem” and concludes that the problem is compatible with a naturalistic world-view, thereby genuine and transcending existentialism. (shrink)
Philosophers have identified a number of principles that characterize morality and underlie moral judgments. However, philosophy has failed to establish any widely agreed-upon justification for these judgments, and an “error theory” that views moral judgments as without justification has not been successfully refuted. Evolutionary psychologists have had success in explaining the likely origins and mechanisms of morality but have also not established any justification for adopting particular values. As a result, we are left with moral nihilism -- the absence (...) of any unarguable values or behaviors we must or should adopt. The philosophical and psychological implications of this nihilism suggest accepting shared, non-absolute values as “good enough”; a revised, humbler view of moral and other value judgments; and the possible acceptance of the hard truth of a value nihilism. (shrink)
In The Gay Science (1882), Nietzsche heralded the problem of nihilism with his famous declaration “God is dead,” which signalled the collapse of a transcendent basis for the underpinning morality of European civilization. He associated this collapse with the rise of the natural sciences whose methods and pervasive outlook he was concerned would progressively shape “an essentially mechanistic [and hence meaningless] world.” The Russian novelist Turgenev had also associated a scientific outlook with nihilism through the scientism of Yevgeny (...) Bazarov, a character in Fathers and Sons. A century or so later, can we correlate relevant scientific results and the nihilistic consequences that worried these and other nineteenth-century authors? The aversion of empirical disciplines to such non-empirical concepts as personhood and agency, and their methodological exclusion of the very idea of value would make this a difficult task. Recent neuroscientific (MRI) investigations into free will might provide a useful starting point for anyone interested in this sociological question, as might the research results of experimental or evolutionary psychologists studying what they take human beings to be. In this paper, I turn instead to a more basic issue of science. I will question the universality of a principle of identity assumed by a scientific understanding of what it means for anything to exist. I will argue that the essential features of human existence present an exception to this principle of identity and thereby fall outside the grasp of scientific inquiry. The basis of this argument will be an explanation of why it is nonetheless rational for us to affirm personhood, agency, moral values, and many more concepts that disappear under the scrutiny of the sciences. (shrink)
The doctrines of therapeutic nihilism and administrative nihilism are both based on the belief that the norms of activity are intrinsically linked to the structure of the body. Just as there is a vis medicatrix naturae in the individual organism, which renders any intervention of the therapist vain, there would be a vis medicatrix rei publicae in the social body, which makes the intervention of the legislator in economic life pointless and even dangerous. However, such a symmetry is (...) not quite as clear as it appears at first. It has also been upheld that the real parallel is not between therapeutic and administrative nihilism, but between therapeutic nihilism and statism. In this view, government is less comparable to a therapist than to the nervous system, and just as a well regulated organism is a one with an extensive nervous system, a well regulated society is one with a strong State.We intend to retrace the historical origin of these two schemas of correspondence, which has his roots in the celebrated controversy in the 1870’s between Herbert Spencer and Thomas Henry Huxley. We examine the causes of this apparent paradox, which sometimes views the doctrine of administrative nihilism, and sometimes the opposing doctrine of statism, as being the equivalent in politics of therapeutic nihilism in medicine. In our opinion, an important part of the explanation must be sought in the variations of the field of extension, which is implicitly given to the concept of vis medicatrix, or –as we now usually call this notion– that of Self-regulation. (shrink)
(Mereological) nihilism states that there are no composite objects—there are only sub-atomic particles such as quarks. Nihilism’s biggest rival, (mereological) universalism, posits vast numbers of composite objects in addition to the sub-atomic particles, and so nihilism appears to be the more ontologically parsimonious of the two theories. If this is the case, it’s a significant result for the nihilist: ontological parsimony is almost always thought to be a theoretical virtue, so a nihilist victory in the parsimony stakes (...) gives us a defeasible reason to be nihilists. But things aren’t so straightforward. Karen Bennett (2009) has argued that nihilism is no more quantitatively parsimonious than universalism. Furthermore, her argument can be redirected so that it threatens the nihilist’s perceived advantage over universalism in the qualitative parsimony stakes too. I here argue that these arguments are flawed and that nihilism is indeed more quantitatively and qualitatively parsimonious than universalism. (shrink)
Against Nihilism compares the writings of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky on key topics such as criminality, Christianity and the figure of the Outsider to reveal the urgency and contemporary resonance of their shared struggle against nihilism.
It’s widely accepted that we have most reason to accept theories that best fulfill the following naturalistically respectable criteria: (1) internal consistency, (2) consistency with the facts, and (3) exemplification of the theoretical virtues. It’s also widely accepted that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. I argue that if you accept the aforementioned criteria, you have most reason to reject that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. By applying the criteria to worlds that are all prima facie possible, I show that contingent (...) local matters of particular fact partly determine which theory of composition we should accept at a world. For instance, I argue that when we apply the criteria to our world, we should accept Mereological Nihilism. Furthermore, even if you think that the worlds I mention, such as gunky worlds, are impossible, you should still reject the brute principle that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. Instead, you should only accept that a theory of composition is necessarily true if contingent local matters of particular fact at possible worlds cannot tell in favor of one theory of composition over another. (shrink)
This volume aims to inspire a return to the energetics of Nietzsche's prose and the critical intensity of his approach to nihilism. For too long contemporary thought has been dominated by a depressed "what is to be done?" All is regarded to be in vain, nothing is deemed real, there is nothing new seen under the sun. Such a "postmodern" lament is easily confounded with an apathetic reluctance to think engagedly. Hence the contributors here draw on a variety of (...) issues--the future of life, the nature of life-forms, the techno-sciences, the body, religions--as a way of tackling the question of nihilism's pertinence to us now. (shrink)
This book presents a defense of the reality of God in the sense in which Nietzsche proclaimed His death. It explores various contemporary versions of Nietzsche's maxim God is dead and proposes an alternative to them. Philip E.Devine critically examines three views that, in one way or another, accept the death of God and take it as central to the intellectual life: pragmatism, which asserts that the only end of the intellectual life is the pursuit of worldly goods other than (...) truth; relativism', which admits a multiplicity of truths corresponding to the modes of life pursued by human beings; and nihilism, to which the pursuit of truth is a deception. Devine then defends his own position on the nature of God and religion and argues for a convergence between the concerns of faith and philosophy. (shrink)
Defining nihilism -- Nietzsche : godfather of nihilism -- Revolution of nihilism -- The uprooted and disinherited -- French nihilism -- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon -- Russian nihilism -- Chernyshevskii : what is to be done? -- Nechayev and the science of destruction -- Tkachev -- Some famous nihilists -- Franz Fanon -- Regis Debray -- Nihilism in Black America.
I argue that mereological nihilism fails because it cannot answer the special arrangement question: when is it true that the xs are arranged F-wise? I suggest that the answers given in the literature fail and that the obvious responses that could be made look to undermine the motivations for adopting nihilism in the first place.
This paper addresses the most fundamental question in metaphysics, Why is there something rather than nothing? The question is framed as a question about concrete entities, Why does a possible world containing concrete entities obtain rather than one containing no concrete entities? Traditional answers are in terms of there necessarily being some concrete entities, and include the possibility of a necessary being. But such answers are threatened by metaphysical nihilism, the thesis that there being nothing concrete is possible, and (...) the subtraction argument for this thesis, an argument that is the subject of considerable recent debate. I summarize and extend the debate about the argument, and answer the threat it poses, turning the tables on it to show how the subtraction argument supports a cosmological argument for a necessary being. (shrink)
“Nihilism” (from the Latin “nihil” meaning nothing) is not a well-defined term. One can be a nihilist about just about anything: A philosopher who does not believe in the existence of knowledge, for example, might be called an “epistemological nihilist”; an atheist might be called a “religious nihilist.” In the vicinity of ethics, one should take care to distinguish moral nihilism from political nihilism and from existential nihilism. These last two will be briefly discussed below, only (...) with the aim of clarifying our topic: moral nihilism. Even restricting attention to “moral nihilism,” matters remain indeterminate. Its most prominent usage in the field of metaethics treats it as a synonym for “error theory,” therefore an entry that said only “Nihilism: see ERROR THEORY” would not be badly misleading. This would identify moral nihilism as the metaethical view that moral discourse consists of assertions that systematically fail to secure the truth. (See Mackie 1977; Joyce 2001.) A broader definition of “nihilism” would be “the view that there are no moral facts.” This is broader because it covers not only the error theory but also noncognitivism (see NONCOGNITIVISM). Both these theories deny that there are moral facts—the difference being that the error theorist thinks that in making moral judgments we try to state facts (but fail to do so, because there are no facts of the type in question), whereas the noncognitivist thinks that in making moral judgments we do not even try to state facts (because, for example, these judgments are really veiled commands or expressions of desire). (In characterizing noncognitivism in this way, I am sidelining various linguistic permissions that may be earned via the quasi-realist program (see QUASI-REALISM).) While it is not uncommon to see “nihilism” defined in this broader way, few contemporary noncognitivists think of themselves as “nihilists,” so it is reasonable to suspect that the extra breadth of the definition is often unintentional. Both these characterizations see moral nihilism as a purely metaethical thesis...n. (shrink)
Leibniz famously argues that there must be simple substances, since there are composites, and a composite is nothing but a collection of simples. I reconstruct Leibniz’s argument, showing that it relies on a commitment to mereological nihilism. I show further that Leibniz endorses mereological nihilism as early as the 1680s and offers both direct and indirect support for this commitment: indirect support via the notion of unity and direct support via the notion of persistence. I then assess the (...) alignment of Leibniz’s mereological nihilism with his other commitments during the 1680s, including his potential commitment to corporeal substances. I argue that any viable interpretation of Leibniz’s commitment to corporeal substances is compatible with mereological nihilism, which provides a new perspective both on Leibniz’s developing theory of substance and on his mature theory of simple substance. (shrink)
Scattered skeptical remarks and a general austerity that infused his writings have given Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes a reputation as some type of nihilist. Noted commentators such as Richard Posner and Albert Alschuler have claimed as much. This article seeks to correct this misunderstanding. Holmes was not a nihilist in the sense of being melancholy due to a belief that the world has no absolute moral values or gods. Instead, Holmes was a pragmatist in the spirit of William James and (...) John Dewey. While Holmes had doubts about moral truth and deities, he ultimately thought that their existence (or non-existence) should have no bearing on our behavior or the law. We must, through our collective efforts, find values that work for us. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard, in his essay "The Present Age," takes a hostile stance towards the press. This is because he maintains that the press prepares the ground for the emergence of nihilism. Hubert Dreyfus extends this idea to other information technologies, especially the Internet. Since Kierkegaard-Dreyfus’ attitude towards various forms of information technology originates from philosophical anthropology and a particular conception of the meaning of life, assessing the viability of the attitude they hold requires further critical scrutiny. This paper aims (...) to show that, although, Kierkegaard’s and Dreyfus' insights are important in understanding the dangers of information technology their approach concerning the meaning of life and human identity is a one-sided analysis of the problem situation; In particular, their reliance on "Unconditional Commitment" could bring about new undesired consequences. This paper emphasizes that an appropriate stance towards information technology needs, among other things, a richer and more effective philosophical anthropology; one that by utilizing religious-moral wisdom in a sensible manner, provides an effective way to safely benefit from various types of technology without falling into the abyss of nihilism. The paper further argues that we also need to provide an institutional control of technology through piecemeal social engineering in a democratic process. (shrink)
It’s widely accepted that we have most reason to accept theories that best fulfill the following naturalistically respectable criteria: internal consistency, consistency with the facts, and exemplification of the theoretical virtues. It’s also widely accepted that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. I argue that if you accept the aforementioned criteria, you have most reason to reject that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. By applying the criteria to worlds that are all prima facie possible, I show that contingent local matters of (...) particular fact partly determine which theory of composition we should accept at a world. For instance, I argue that when we apply the criteria to our world, we should accept Mereological Nihilism. Furthermore, even if you think that the worlds I mention, such as gunky worlds, are impossible, you should still reject the brute principle that metaphysical theories are necessarily true. Instead, you should only accept that a theory of composition is necessarily true if contingent local matters of particular fact at possible worlds cannot tell in favor of one theory of composition over another. (shrink)
This paper argues the Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition is to be interpreted as a response to nihilism, especially in relation to the question of the legitimation of knowledge and the so-called crisis of narratives, and that, therefore, it provides an appropriate response to the question of nihilism in educational philosophy. The paper begins with a discussion of Nietzsche's and Heidegger's views of nihilism as a prolegomenon to Lyotard's views concerning European nihilism and the end of grand (...) narratives. These are important sources for a philosophical reception of the problem and the context in which Lyotard formulates his response and the immediate sources against that conditions Lyotard's response. The problem of nihilism raises its head in education in a double way: in relation to both the foundation of knowledge and the problem of its legitimation and the problem of values. (shrink)
A daring marriage of philosophy and practical politics, Gianni Vattimo takes on some of the most pressing questions of our time: Is it still possible to talk of moral imperatives, individual rights, or political freedom? Are these values still relevant in today's world? Vattimo argues that nihilism is not the absence of meaning but the recognition of a plurality of meanings; it is not the end of civilization but the beginning of new social paradigms. Nihilism is an ethical (...) doctrine in which there are no moral absolutes or infallible natural laws. "Truth" is inescapably subjective, and, because the conditions for equality and liberty are not "naturally" given, society must create these ideals or it will inevitably fall prey to irrationality, prejudice, and oppression. Featuring fourteen of Vattimo's most influential essays on ethics, politics, and law, this collection is a provocative reevaluation of meaning, values, and the idea of freedom in Western culture. (shrink)
Is the youth culture, or more precisely aparticular kind of it, to be characterized as nihilistic ? And is this a threat or ablessing for education? To deal with this nihilism is first characterized generally andfollowing particular attention is paid toNietzsche's own version and revaluation ofvalues. Then Foucault's concept of life as awork of art is brought to the forefront as aparticular manner to give shape to one's life.It is argued that some of the more popularforms of pleasure nowadays (...) may contrarily towhat is generally believed, be reminiscent of arevaluation thus to overcome nihilism.Implications for education include for theeducator to realize the unavoidability to offerherself as who she is, furthermore to be fullyaware of the fact that many boundaries in theeducational process are arbitrary, and last butnot least the acceptance of the need to createthe room for the child to develop an image ofherself which she can live with. (shrink)
The presentation of nihilism as a phenomenon integrated in the category of illnesses is very common in the scientific literature. This paper is centered on the fact that nihilism is a major disease of the axiological conscience, an illness that can be diagnosed and treated by the philosopher like a ‘physician of culture’.
Nihilism, as most commonly understood, is the existential thesis that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Medical nihilism is the radical skepticism, indeed cynicism, about the objectivity, purpose or value of medical interventions. According to Stegenga, it is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical treatments. Stegenga provides a rigorous epistemological investigation into the evidence for medical interventions, one that is informed by the methods of analytical philosophy and a (...) Bayesian formalism. (shrink)
A connection is often made between postmodernism and nihilism, but the full meaning of such a connection is rarely explored. The contemporary Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo is one of the few philosophers to have devoted much work to explaining this connection. Vattimo extrapolates the relevance of Nietzsche’s theory of nihilism for the postmodern condition, arguing that the concept of the postmodern can only be thought rigorously in relation to the nihilistic destiny of the West. This article explores Vattimo’s (...) postmodern reading of Nietzsche and argues that this reading helps to illuminate (1) the connection between nihilism and the postmodern; (2) the postmodern transformation of nihilism, which was originally a theory of the ails of modernity rather than of postmodernity; and (3) why postmodernists may wish to affirm nihilism rather than take the accusation that postmodernism is nihilistic as a charge that must be refuted. (shrink)
I argue that the Nineteenth Century phenomenon of Russian nihilism, rather than belonging to the spiritual crisis that threatened Europe, was an independent and historically specific attitude of the Russian intelligentsia in their wholesale and utopian rejection of the prevailing values of their parents’ generation. Turgenev’s novel, Fathers and Sons, exemplifies this revolt in the literary character Bazarov, who embodies an archetypical account of the conflict between generations, social values, and traditions in Russian—but not just Russian—culture.
An examination of the meaning of meaninglessness: why it matters that nothing matters. When someone is labeled a nihilist, it's not usually meant as a compliment. Most of us associate nihilism with destructiveness and violence. Nihilism means, literally, “an ideology of nothing. “ Is nihilism, then, believing in nothing? Or is it the belief that life is nothing? Or the belief that the beliefs we have amount to nothing? If we can learn to recognize the many varieties (...) of nihilism, Nolen Gertz writes, then we can learn to distinguish what is meaningful from what is meaningless. In this addition to the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Gertz traces the history of nihilism in Western philosophy from Socrates through Hannah Arendt and Jean-Paul Sartre. Although the term “nihilism” was first used by Friedrich Jacobi to criticize the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, Gertz shows that the concept can illuminate the thinking of Socrates, Descartes, and others. It is Nietzsche, however, who is most associated with nihilism, and Gertz focuses on Nietzsche's thought. Gertz goes on to consider what is not nihilism—pessimism, cynicism, and apathy—and why; he explores theories of nihilism, including those associated with Existentialism and Postmodernism; he considers nihilism as a way of understanding aspects of everyday life, calling on Adorno, Arendt, Marx, and prestige television, among other sources; and he reflects on the future of nihilism. We need to understand nihilism not only from an individual perspective, Gertz tells us, but also from a political one. (shrink)
A Meta-Philosophy exploration of immanent and non-immanent features of first-order philosophy in terms of the values of non- values or negative values of Radical Scepticism, Nihilism and Minarchy, executed to show how philosophizing is done. -/- It misleadingly seems as if there is no progress in philosophy as, like in visual art, literature and music, each original thinker re-invents the entire discipline, its aims, purposes, values, methods, etc The nature of philosophical tools, methods, techniques and skills will be investigated (...) and applied in terms of radical scepticism. -/- This approach, set of values and attitude restrict the nature and the style of the meta-philosophizing. It will for example prevent the traditional development of a general, all-encompassing and all-inclusive metaphysical system. It also demands the focus on context-specific investigation of questions and the dealing of a particular problem in a certain context. -/- These limits require the re-interpretation of any philosophical tool being employed as well as the underlying assumptions and any pre-suppositions. -/- As far as possible philosophizing as an aspect of the processes of theorizing will be adhered to and realized. In chapter THREE I illustrate many-leveled and multi-dimensional thinking, that are to me as a visual artist as well, of extreme importance. These are the types of things employed by radical skepticism and that should be the form of philosophizing instead of and replacing traditional one-leveled and one-dimensional thinking, argumentation and reasoning. (shrink)
Wendy Brown diagnoses a crisis of nihilism in the United States, as market ideals displace values of truth and integrity and identity politics encourage a destructive epidemic of victimhood. Taking strength from Max Weber's WWI-era calls for moral courage, Brown aims to renew commitments to basic values of citizenship and public life.