What is Nihilism?

Nihilism derives from the Latin word Nihil which means nothing. Nihilism is a philosophical doctrine that supports the idea that life has no meaning, thus suggesting the absence of beliefs in one or more apparently significant aspects of life. Nihilism is a term used occasionally along with anomie when it explains the general mood of despair that can be developed when one realizes that there are no laws, rules or rules required and its perspective is based on the uselessness of existence . There are some movements that commentators have identified as nihilists; include deconstruction and futurism among others.

History of nihilism

A German philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was the first to use the term nihilism. The philosopher used this term to describe rationalism, in particular the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant which suggested that all rationalism is reduced to nihilism, adding that it should be avoided by replacing it with a return of some form of revelation and faith. The term was gaining great recognition mainly because of Ivan Turgenev, Russian playwright, writer, translator, poet and novelist among others, and the new political movement in Russia adopted the name of nihilistic movement. The political movement chose to adopt the name because nothing of what existed at that time was favorable to their eyes.

Forms of nihilism

The term nihilism has had different definitions over time. Therefore, it can be used to describe different philosophically independent positions. Nihilism can be used in a wide range of disciplines such as metaphysics, epistemology and ontology, which means that somehow the reality is non-existent or knowledge is not possible. Political nihilism is also a branch of nihilism that focuses only on the most fundamental political and social structures, including law, government and family.

Existential nihilism

One of the most common forms or nihilism includes existential nihilism; this theory holds that life has no value or makes no sense. As for the universe, this form of nihilism suggests that a human being or perhaps the entire human race has no purpose or value, and is insignificant and most likely will never change in all of existence. According to this school of thought, each person is an isolated being born in the world and blocked by knowing why, but forced to find meaning. The existential nihilists mainly explore the insignificant life in the philosophical school of existentialism and can potentially invent their purpose or meaning. Compared to other forms of nihilism, existential nihilism is the one that has received the most philosophical and literary attention.

Moral nihilism

Ethical nihilism or moral nihilism is a branch of ethics that holds that morality does not exist as something intrinsic to an impartial reality. In this regard, moral nihilists support the idea that no action is necessarily preferable to another. For example, moral nihilists claim that killing a person, regardless of the reason, is not unnaturally wrong or right. On the other hand, the other nihilists do not claim that morality does not exist, but if it does then it is more a human construction, so it is artificial; believe that any or all meanings are related to different possible outcomes. Since the moral nihilist believes that killing a person is not bad and is independent of our moral beliefs, what they call bad is the thing that is given a higher negative weighting than a positive one. In this regard, they believe that killing a person is bad because the act does not allow the person to live that an arbitrary data is assigned a positive weighting.


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