The debate "Any deep dive into metaphysics morality or values leads to nihilism" was started by
March 14, 2020, 1:37 am.
14 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 32 people are on the disagree side.
That might be enough to see the common perception.
It looks like most people are against to this statement.
Allirix posted 8 arguments to the agreers part.
Nemiroff posted 2 arguments, jlwiza posted 3 arguments to the disagreers part.
Allirix, kraDTheMerchant and 12 visitors agree.
jlwiza, rfwthomasson, akashmeka, jrardin12, Dazed_Confused, tisya_aaa and 26 visitors disagree.
I just realised I didn't respond to @Nemiroff
Nietzsche is the father of existentialism. Literally google "father of existentialism" and it'll pop up with Nietzsche, (well it did for me when I checked to confirm I wasn't talking out of my ass.)
He's the guy who came up with the idea of active and passive nihilism and other ideas which ultimately inspired the existentialist movement.
I don't agree that believing value or meaning is arbitrary (nihilism) is the opposite to believing we define our own meaning (existentialism, subjectivism, relativism). I actually believe it's nihilism that gives us the authority to define our own meaning and values.
And @jlwiza, I agree that isms can obscure meaning, but they're neat little packages for big ideas. It makes it easier to communicate even if a common understanding isn't always reached.
I think there is nothing I disagree on in your last two statements without being terribly pedantic. Me, myself am not a fan of isms, just principally because of the failings of naming.
When we name a thing, anything. We try to encapsulate the entirety of an idea, into a single word, that abstraction pulls us away from the words physicality, and it's meaning is invariably muddled, and all isms are built on these really grand abstractions like love, life, meaning, and truth. Each of them can mean ten thousand different things to ten thousand different people, resulting on abstractions built on abstractions. So on The plus side it gives these ideas, really grand appeal, and unites people.
But the negative is that people can believe diametrically different things about a concept
and both believe that they believe in the same thing.
So if you are saying what we've discussed lines up with an active nihilism as you've described then I would agree. To me it was just an expansion on Descartes Cogito argument, with some ideas from Schopenhauer, David Foster Wallace, and Kant.. and maybe a little of Dumbledore's fatalist Prophecy argument.
I feel like you genuinely listened and considered the ideas I brought up, it's rare to find someone who is genuinely more curious about truth than in tearing eachother down, thank you, I very much enjoyed talking with you.
In the matrix they had the red and blue pill. While this analogy has been taken by odd corners of the internet, I think I might be able to use it to communicate how I feel about nihilism.
The blue pill represents not knowing value is arbitrary while the red pill represents knowing it is.
So the matrix is living as though values are not arbitrary and the ai overlords represent an eternal dig for intrinsic value.
So passive nihilism is taking the red pill and fighting the ai. You know value is not intrinsic and you let that rule your life. But active nihilism is being redpilled but acting as though blue pilled. You're aware value is arbitrary, but your mind is wired to enjoy and value certain things, so you choose to live in the matrix to maximise your subjective experience.
Yes, a life in the matrix is not technically real, and your mind nay sometimes wander to the fight against the ai. But, it's far more enjoyable living in the matrix than outside the matrix.
If you chose to not live in the matrix you might be the chosen nihilist who obsesses enough over intrinsic value that you discover a way to defeat it. But a life in a blue pilled matrix feels far better, and it's probably impossible to find intrinsic value
So to me Cypher was an active nihilist. He was redpilled, but he wanted to return to the bluepill world because he could be anything he wanted there instead of stuck fighting a pointless war.
> we get to choose what we value, and what has meaning in our lives.
An active nihilist agrees. In recognizing nothing has intrinsic value we become free to assign whatever value we want.
That doesn't mean I will choose to value a random small stone and live my life around that. I am incapable of assigning value without justifying it with the values my brain has been wired to uphold. A nihilist can try rebeling to counter their programming or society itself, but I see that as too much effort for too little subjective gain.
I just legitimise my values with my other values because I want to be a productive member of society. Wasting time on thinking too hard about value and meaning can be fun, but it's not going to let me become the person I want to be.
So nothing has a higher authority than me, which originally feels sucky because who am I to give value to myself? But it is also empowering because no one else has any more authority than me. Taking it to heart that I have just as much authority as society to decide what is important lets me be free to become the person I want to be.
> Evidence of our shared humanity becomes unavoidably apparent in our own thoughts, reminding us that we are inescapably human.
And valuing ourselves and others is essential to add value (our shared understanding of what value is) to the world. That doesn't make it intrinsically valuable, just intrinsically valuable to our shared values.
> even our subjective value ultimately does not matter.
I think it's easy to get lost in abstract ideas and concepts, I find it good practice to always try to bind ideas to the practical, and simplify Them to test their validity.
I think our main divergence in thought go, we think about it, and come to the conclusion that life in all its complexity and splendor, has really no intrinsic meaning, or value to it. Absolutely agreed.
But then it seems you think that's disappointing, because then it doesnt matter what you value or prescribe meaning to, any point is just as valid as any other.
Where as my response is that's amazing we get to choose what we value, and what has meaning in our lives. Because the opposite to me where meaning is intrinsic to things is slavery of thought and value. Next, it doesn't matter what we chose to value. Well I would disagree, because we're humans, living with other humans, meaning what we ultimately chose to value it will reflect back on to ourselves. Which is why we have to be careful about what we prescribe meaning to.
I mean one good reason to prescribe meaning, or value to say, a deity, as opposed to so many other things, is most other things will eat you alive. If you say, value beauty you will always feel unattractive. Value money, and material things and you'll never have enough. Value intellect, and you'll feel like a fraud always on the verge of being found out, etc you get the idea.
So what does this mean, what do we make of this. I think when we delve into a deeper scrutiny of everything, a radical doubt the only thing we can not doubt are our own thoughts and a subjective truth. This leads us I believe to moral relativism, solipsism, nihilism etc. But when we employ a practical understanding and application of how our ideas shape and affect us and similarly have affected others. Evidence of our shared humanity becomes unavoidably apparent in our own thoughts, reminding us that we are inescapably human. Pulling us back out of solipsism, giving us a basis to systematically prescribe meaning on our shared values and beliefs.
Back where we started, before our metaphysical musings, but now armed with the understanding that we are free to chose what has meaning. A world where everything had intrinsic meaning, a world most people believe is a prison so absolute, that the prisoner doesnt even know he's imprisoned. Sapere Aude!
> You're not proving that any prolonged thought leads to nihilism
I'm not trying to say it is prolonged thought that leads to nihilism, but an accurate reflection on how deep the analysis of value can go leads to nihilism. Because a stopping point is arbitrary I'm saying the whole process of trying to find intrinsic value is arbitrary. We definitely find things WE value, and you can argue that our subjective value is all that matters and stop there, but my point is that even our subjective value ultimately does not matter.
> It seems and correct me if I'm wrong your basing if an idea has meaning on whether it exists.
I'm not sure if this is accurate, but if it is I'd like you to elaborate. It's true that I believe in a hierarchy of existence. Sherlock Holmes doesn't exist in the same way Donald Trump does, the Donald Trump of 20 years ago doesn't exist in the same way he exists today, the Donald Trump of today doesn't exist in the same way the quantum strings inside him exist. All are forms of existence, the only difference is some are built with more abstract pieces than others. My belief is that morality and values are very high level abstract objects. They're defined by us and based on how we've abstracted the world. That's fine, but it's not enough to mean the value we assign is intrinsic to anything in reality.
> Honestly nihilism seems at its heart rooted in the same failings as solipsism, I cant prove that other people exist, but I still treat them under the assumption the leap of faith that they do
Yeah. The point is to be an active nihilist. In recognizing nothing has meaning you are free to make whatever meaning you want. You're just as right as everyone else out there because it's all arbitrary anyway. EG just do what will make your 80 year old self proud when you look back on your life. It is nihilism that gives a level of legitimacy to subjectivitism and relativism. The only difference is nihilists just act as though intrinsic value is relative, whereas relativists believe it truly is relative.
hmm this all seems a bit odd to me and based on logic that seems to stem from a faulty footing. In other words, You're not proving that any prolonged thought leads to nihilism, your just proving that reality as we view it is subjective, which is true and obvious, its impossible for us to see anything objectively since we're constrained by our own vantage point in life. It seems and correct me if I'm wrong your basing if an idea has meaning on whether it exists, but meaning isn't based on existence, because if it were, it wouldn't be as useful or as powerful. In other words, let's say I have a car, and let's just say we agree for examples sake that the meaning of cars is something that which can be driven. And let's say someone comes and proves definitively that cars have never existed. Does that imply that the car has lost its meaning. Its meaning has nothing to do with objective reality. so a nihilist would say since the car doesnt exist its meaning is pointless. I would say yes our shared understanding of things may or may not exist, but the meaning we derive from them is important in their utility and interpretation of those ideas, not its existence/reality. Honestly nihilism seems at its heart rooted in the same failings as solipsism, I cant prove that other people exist, but I still treat them under the assumption the leap of faith that they do.
"it just is" certainly is an appeal to authority by itself, but the "i dont know" qualifier undermines the fallacy and legitimizes the overall comment. no matter how absolute the second part of the statement is, the "i dont know" clearly admits uncertainty.
but im still curious if a statement of uncertainty reveals either subjectivity or relativity. i believe that honest uncertainty fits into none of your 4 mentioned categories and is therefore a missing part to your explanation.
on a side note, if Nietzsche believes active nihilists should be the best version of their inner self, and you previously argued against free will (aka our inner self is predetermined), then does that not point to an absolute inner self and purpose that the individual has no control over? that purpose is certainly variable for every individual, but i dont think a variable purpose is the same as no purpose at all. my purpose may be different then yours, but it certainly exists!
personally i reject nihilism, but as with most moral philosophies it is difficult to explain in words. morals are a feeling we all have well before we give them technical names. however, i feel that the "life has no purpose" is an absolute statement coming from a philosophy that rejects absolute statements.
what are your views on existentialism, which says people are free individuals who can choose their own purpose through will? existentialism according to google is the opposite of nihilism yet it seems to reach the same conclusion as active nihilism: find yourself.
Well saying "I don't know, IT JUST IS" appeals to the authority of whatever _it_ is. That's a fallacy, unless it's somehow genuinely an absolute.
And making your own values isn't a problem. That's the great power of nihilism. That's why nihilism can be empowering. But that's confusing because it seems to go against a quick overview of nihilism, and that's why Nietzsche split nihilism into active and passive. Passive nihilists succumb to the abyss. They see no point in anything so they try to find something greater than them to feel a sense of meaning. Religion, incels, politics, etc are all escapes for passive nihilists. (not saying all members are passive nihilists, what's odd is some may even be active nihilists)
Active nihilists also accept that nothing matters so they should do whatever their higher self truly desires. Nietzsche believed that is the ultimate purpose of human life. We should strive to become the human inside us. Life is about discovering your humanity and becoming that human. Self actualising.
You love the feeling of teaching? You love imagining yourself looking back on a life of inspiring young minds to believe in themselves? Then focus on being the best damn teacher you can be. Inspire people to be their best damn selves. Strive to be that higher self you imagine.
You don't have to be an active nihilist to believe in subjectivism or relativism, but it's what active nihilists must accept to move beyond being a passive nihilist.
Subjectivism and relativism are oppositions to objectivism and absolutism. A value has value because it gives me value. An active nihilist realises that value is ultimately empty, but it feels absolute, it feels important, and that feeling is what life is. Suffering to maximise that feeling is just a part of the journey
would an i dont know answer qualify as subjective or relative?
does ignorance of an answer mean no answer at all?
values are subjective to being with, so certainly they will lead to feelings. if the problem with why is that the answer changes from person to person, i think there is nothing wrong with people having different purposes. a variable purpose is not the same as no purpose. some people may be born to heal, others to build, yet others to destroy. their purpose is different, but real.
and nihilism by most definitions i find stops at there is no purpose. this self defining of a purpose is not mentioned in my quick lookup.
An example would be applying an infinite chain of Socratic whys to an idea.
So the same process you'd use to elicit your top 10 base values, but then asking why those values even matter, and why that matters, etc. I believe the chain will always either circle in on itself (relative baseline) or lead to a feeling (subjective baseline)
And subjectivism and relativism are just forms of Nietzsche's active nihilism. It's where things don't have any value other than the value we give them.
i think nihilism is a matter of perspective rather than inevitably. can you give an example of reflecting on an idea long enough?
If we reflect on any specific idea long enough, no matter how strong it seems at first, or how widely accepted, we?ll start to doubt its truth. We might also begin to doubt whether those who accept the idea really know (or care) about whether or not the idea is true. This is one step away from thinking about why there is so little consensus about so many issues, and why everyone else seems to be so certain about what now appears to you so uncertain. At this point, on the brink of nihilism, there's a choice: either keep thinking and risk alienating yourself from society; or stop thinking and risk alienating yourself from reality
The deeper you go the closer to nihilism you get.