Besides that nothing can be known a nihilist may argue that the truth does not exist. It might be relevant to say that a todays supporter of hermeneutics is a nihilist of tomorrow.

The concept of non-existant truth is particularly useful in social sciences. A vast part of things that affect on our lives are created by humans itself and these things do not exist by themselves e.g. responsibility, moral and laws.
It should be clear that denying these things is likely to cause remarkable problems to a coherent nihilist.

From historical point of view nihilism was exercised by some Russian university students late 1800's who were thought to be part of the upper class. They rejected all or the most of the values of present society.
Punk was a very nihilistic movement before it was recuperated. Punk was an absolute denial of music and taste of trends, expressed by shitty outfit. The self-destructive lifestyle of punks can be labelled nihilistic.

Nihilism faces a lot of the same problems that other philosophies face, however, due to its inherent destructiveness, and subsequent alienation, many of these are ignored. To take an example, lets look at josmos's wu above (which I must say is very well written), and see if we can approach it in a more balanced manner.

Do you exist? 
This is a classic example of a malformed question leading to inherent uncertainty of terms, which is then exploited later to justify an attack on a value system. This is quite common in nihilistic exchanges. The reason the question is malformed is centred around the word 'exist'. It's an immanent concept, and a special case predicate to boot. 'Do you exist' is like saying are you more real than me? This exposes the second malformation of the question. The word DO is incompatible with Existence as a predicate. We don't *do* existence, we are. So the question could be read "Are you existing?"

Seeing as existing is just another form of the verb "to be" which is reducible to the present tense here, the question becomes: "Are you Are?"

Which ladies and gentlemen, is a tautology. Asking it neither adds or removes anything from the discussion, as it isn't contingent.

The next thing to look at is the assertion that "Subjective is everything that must go through the mind to be observed, knowing that the mind might be in error."

Here is another malformed statement, but this one is more subtle still than the last. If we re-read the statement we see that the first phrase (before the comma) is implying that everything is subjective, for all knowledge of the outside world must pass through the mind to be sensible. This implies that being subjective, it is personal to us, has no objective value, and cannot be held to be in any sense "true", but this also implies that there is no sense of 'false' either, this is the catchall trap of subjectivism, and also relativism. Now if we look at the second phrase (after comma) this implies that there is an objective notion 'error' that can be applied to the previous knowledge. One's mind can only be in error if there is an observable truth it is failing to relate, and this negates the subjective view point earlier. In effect, the mind is an objective tool for observing truths that 'might be in error', a criticism that isn't even certain. The whole argument falls apart at this point.

Now, moving on from semantics, lets look at the coin toss analogy. This is here to demonstrate to us the unknowability of truth in a probabilistic framework. Unfortunately, while the analogical truth that one cannot know what outcome will occur at the toss of a coin is logically true, this also implies that should the coin fall within certain measurable parameters (IE be approximately close to the fair ideal of a coin) then empirical observation has revealed always in the past a converging of the outcomes of heads/tails at half/half. It is reasonable to assume that unless anything else changes, that this will continue. You see, the logic here isn't dealing is specific outcomes, per se, but the whole system, which can be said to follow observable, and reliable behaviour. It can only do this if the smaller component behaviours of it's elements combine to form the regular system we observe. The truth of the maxim isn't lost in the individual coin toss, it emerges over the series of coin tosses, and the larger the series, the more true it will be.

Faith does not equal fact.
This paragraphs still makes the same 'mind in error' assumption as before. If our minds are in error, then how do we know this? In fact what are we to compare against? A truth? An Objective reality? It's like one domino leaning on it's friends for support, if you push one, they all fall down, because they're all the same. If you assume universal subjectivity, you can't then call into error it's conclusions, because you have nothing (pun intended) to compare them with.

 The grenade isn't green.. 

Yes it is, as long as you always see it that colour, and call it the same thing, and it matches what other people call green in life, then you're fine. The 'subjective' reality of the colour as you percieve it makes no difference to it's logical properties, or indeed to logic itself. The neat thing here is the assumption that there *is* a right from which one is falling short. I would argue that the notion of nihilism here is emerging from a confusion between subjective and objective rather than anything substantial.

On logic and axioms...
One cannot have logic without axioms, or indeed any formal system. However there seems to be a misunderstanding about the axioms, which are in themselves abstractions of concepts observed to be working in real life. They're put side by side with others like them to see if they're consistent with each other, and whether it's possible to deduce anything useful from them. This doesn't change their objectivity, nor does it make them 'faith', they are genuinely useful in that they help us achieve specific goals. We question them regularly, because, like all science, truths are discovered, not made up.

Cogito Ergo Sum
Maybe, but we could define 'am' the usual way, and say it means to exist, now. Though the bulk of philosophical work has been trying to discover what 'think' means in this statement. The next part about understanding the concept I might very well not exist, is strange to me. If I don't exist, then how am I arguing with the person above? Anyways, I suppose it's more a question of personal identification than existence, because obviously statements counter to the presented notion of nihilism are being produced.

To finish up, while there seems to be quite a caustic array of arguments in the wu above, the notion of nihilism presented here seems to be run through with flaws. I don't even think that it is a real philosophy per se, but a phenomenon of breaking down and clearing away values, all values indiscriminately by using the tools of reason and culture against themselves. While this may give a certain sense of exultation in the duration, it is however empty and eventually futile. Like fire in the wheat.

Values are the means by which we relate and interact with the world. They are our roads into the wonderful and terrible playground of life, and without them we would just end up living in our own heads. The very tools we use to burn down our old cages must themselves be burnt, but will also take us before they are gone, and leave us as ashes in the bleak and barren landscape of our own destruction.

Ni"hil*ism (?), n. [L. nihil nothing: cf. F. nihilisme. See Annihilate.]

1.

Nothingness; nihility.

2.

The doctrine that nothing can be known; scepticism as to all knowledge and all reality.

3. Politics

The theories and practices of the Nihilists.

 

© Webster 1913.

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