The Instigator
Paramountdesktop
Pro (for)
Losing
28 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
36 Points

Nihilists are hypocrites

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/23/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,142 times Debate No: 5795
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (10)

 

Paramountdesktop

Pro

Wikipedia says,
"Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical position that argues that existence is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value"

Contention 1: It is impossible for one to be fully nihilist. Nihilists cannot participate in society. Everything in society requires purpose, objective meaning, or intrinsic value. All people play a role in society.

Contention 2: In addition, all basic survival skills stem from purpose, objective meaning and intrinsic value. We drink to quench our thirst; we eat to satisfy our hunger; we protect ourselves to avoid death. Nihilists cannot escape from the inherent needs of humans!

Ergo, anyone who claims to be nihilist is hypocritical.
TheSkeptic

Con

"A nihilist is a person who does not bow down to any authority, who does not accept any principle on faith, however much that principle may be revered." - Ivan Turgenev. My opponent has a dreadful misunderstanding of nihilism, and I will explain why.

My opponent's definition of nihilism is a philosophical position, and not a political position nor a synonym for anomie in individuals.

[Definition - hypocrite]
http://mw1.meriam-webster.com...

1 - A person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 - A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

~Counterarguments~

A nihilist challenges value systems, and truth values many take for granted to be true in society. In many ways, nihilism is similar to atheism or skepticism.

1. Nihilists and Society

A nihilist argues that existence is without OBJECTIVE meaning/purpose/value. There is no final destination, no destiny, no higher power who has placed an intrinsic value on our life. However, there are SUBJECTIVE purposes, for which many nihilists, and atheists, and many other philosophies embrace.

Society does not require OBJECTIVE meaning/purpose/value. It is a population of humans characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals that share a distinctive culture and/or institutions.[1] Exactly how would believing there are no objective purposes be hypocritical for nihilists? People play a role in society, because society needs that to function. Society as a whole may have some desired goal or objective, but is there INTRINSICALLY an OBJECTIVE goal of society? Of course not. Each society determines what it's objectives will be, just like humans, and just like nihilists.

2. Nihilists and Basic bodily needs

The purpose of life is not to live. There is no purpose for life. For many people they have a reason for living but there is no inherent or intrinsic meaning connected with existing. There was no purpose for the Big Bang, no objective meaning for it. It just happened. And from that, led to abiogenesis, and evolution, and us.

Existence is. That's all, nothing more, nothing less.

Ergo, anyone who claims nihilists are hypocritical are douchebags :)

---References---
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Paramountdesktop

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate.

"1 - A person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 - A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings"

I accept definition #2 of hypocrite. Sorry about the lack of clarification.

"A nihilist challenges value systems, and truth values many take for granted to be true in society. In many ways, nihilism is similar to atheism or skepticism."

Nihilism is total rejection of the social mores, but everyone participates in the social mores. Thus, anyone who claims to be nihilist is a hypocrite.

"A nihilist argues that existence is without OBJECTIVE meaning/purpose/value. There is no final destination, no destiny, no higher power who has placed an intrinsic value on our life. However, there are SUBJECTIVE purposes, for which many nihilists, and atheists, and many other philosophies embrace."

Everyone participates in life in order to reach some destination. Everyone does this because of the objective meaning of the destination, the value of the destination, and the purpose driving them to the destination. If you deny that these exist, then you are hypocritical.

"Society does not require OBJECTIVE meaning/purpose/value. It is a population of humans characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals that share a distinctive culture and/or institutions.[1] Exactly how would believing there are no objective purposes be hypocritical for nihilists? People play a role in society, because society needs that to function. Society as a whole may have some desired goal or objective, but is there INTRINSICALLY an OBJECTIVE goal of society? Of course not. Each society determines what it's objectives will be, just like humans, and just like nihilists."

You just pointed out a goal. ;) Society's intrinsic goal is to function. Yes, there are more superficial goals, as you have pointed out, but the intrinsic goal is to function.

In society, we determine group goals that satisfy all of our individual goals. But if you wish to further discuss intrinsic goals, let's must divest the many layers to get to the most basic parts of society: humans.
I argue that the intrinsic purpose of every human (every animate being) is to live!

How can you say that life has no purpose? Everything you do is to achieve something in life.
TheSkeptic

Con

All appointed definitions are agreed between my opponent and me.

~Counterarguments~

"Nihilism is total rejection of the social mores, but everyone participates in the social mores. Thus, anyone who claims to be nihilist is a hypocrite."

--> In the context of this debate, this is untrue. Nihilism asserts that there is no objective meaning to life. Nihilism does not require for someone to not participate in accordance with social norms.

1. Nihilism and society

"Everyone participates in life in order to reach some destination. Everyone does this because of the objective meaning of the destination, the value of the destination, and the purpose driving them to the destination. If you deny that these exist, then you are hypocritical."

--> My opponent has a grave misunderstanding of objectivity and subjectivity. Objective goals are ones that are independent of the mind, or of humans. They are goals to be discovered, not to be invented. There is no goal of life to be discovered, but we invent our own. For those who see no purpose or goal for living, they commit suicide.

"I argue that the intrinsic purpose of every human (every animate being) is to live!"

--> Well state the argument. Your burden of proof.

"Society's intrinsic goal is to function."

--> By definition society needs to function. You could have a chaotic society however. Do NOT mistake this for an objective purpose; society is simply an institution created by man.

"How can you say that life has no purpose? Everything you do is to achieve something in life."

--> Live has no objective purpose. Your understanding of objectivity and subjectivity fails.

~Conclusion~

This entire debate boils down to my opponent's understanding of objectivity and subjectivity. He fails to realize that nihilism negates objective purposes to life, but embraces the validity of subjective purposes to living.
Debate Round No. 2
Paramountdesktop

Pro

"In the context of this debate, this is untrue. Nihilism asserts that there is no objective meaning to life. Nihilism does not require for someone to not participate in accordance with social norms."

Rejecting all meanings of life means rejecting social norms.

"--> My opponent has a grave misunderstanding of objectivity and subjectivity. Objective goals are ones that are independent of the mind, or of humans. They are goals to be discovered, not to be invented. There is no goal of life to be discovered, but we invent our own. For those who see no purpose or goal for living, they commit suicide."

First of all, I was addressing purpose in that contention. Secondly, I could argue that all goals are independent of the mind. They are all sparked by the instantaneous collision of physical atoms. The mind is a nonmaterial thing. How can you show what goals are objective and which are not, and how can you show a link?

The rest of these points are moot. Objective goals are to be discovered? All goals are discovered during life. When you are suddenly inspired to do something, you discover a goal.

Nihilists see no purpose or goals for living. Are they all going to commit suicide? No, so they're hypocrites.

"--> Well state the argument. Your burden of proof."

Every human being has the inherent goal to protect his or her life and to protect members of the species. These are intrinsic goals.

Isn't that sort of common knowledge? If you had no urge to protect your own life, you would kill yourself. Because you will not kill yourself, you're a hypocrite. That is...if I catch you countering my arguments, then you're a hypocrite.=)

"--> By definition society needs to function. You could have a chaotic society however. Do NOT mistake this for an objective purpose; society is simply an institution created by man."

Why do humans create societies? It's an inherent goal to establish groups with other members of the species.

Furthermore, nihilists believe that morals do not exist. They believe that everything should be legalized because no action is logically preferable to another in regard to moral value. Think about that. If nihilist actually followed these ideas, society would be chaos. Nihilists don't obey their own philosophy. They don't kill for no reason.

Also, this implies logical ability, and killing for no reason is not logical.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Therefore, Nihilists are hypocrites.
TheSkeptic

Con

~Counterarguments~

"Rejecting all meanings of life means rejecting social norms."

--> How exactly can this even make sense? Social norms are the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to stick to the rules can result in severe punishments, the most feared of which is exclusion from the group. [1] Rejecting all OBJECTIVE meanings to life is totally irrelevant to rejecting social norms. Once again, my opponent's understanding of objectivity FAILS.

"First of all, I was addressing purpose in that contention... "

--> Objective meaning and objective purpose to life are the same.

" The mind is a nonmaterial thing"

--> When I said "mind", I clearly meant human thinking, consciousness, cognition, etc.

"Secondly, I could argue that all goals are independent of the mind. They are all sparked by the instantaneous collision of physical atoms... How can you show what goals are objective and which are not, and how can you show a link?"

--> Once again, my opponent's understanding of objectivity fails. Objective truths are everywhere, and independent of human thinking. For example, 2+2=4. This will remain true throughout the universe EVEN if humans never existed. Subjective truths are true for some people and situations, but not for all. Saying "this song is awesome" is subjective. You have yet to show that there is an OBJECTIVE meaning/purpose to life.

"The rest of these points are moot. Objective goals are to be discovered? All goals are discovered during life. When you are suddenly inspired to do something, you discover a goal."

--> I have adequately shown why my opponent's understanding of objectivity is quite wrong.

"Every human being has the inherent goal to protect his or her life and to protect members of the species. These are intrinsic goals."

--> Untrue. It is part of our evolutionary psychology. Many animals are also "programmed" to protect his or her life and to protect members of the species.

"Why do humans create societies? It's an inherent goal to establish groups with other members of the species."

--> Evolutionary psychology.

"Furthermore, nihilists believe that morals do not exist. They believe that everything should be legalized because no action is logically preferable to another in regard to moral value. Think about that. If nihilist actually followed these ideas, society would be chaos. Nihilists don't obey their own philosophy. They don't kill for no reason."

--> There are repercussions for murdering people. One might go to jail, be fraught with guilt, etc. However, if I could kill someone I hated and no repercussions were to follow? Then sure, I would do so if I wished.

"Also, this implies logical ability, and killing for no reason is not logical."

--> What the heck does this even mean? Killing for no reason is not logical: well duh by definition it isn't; killing for NO reason. Nihilism never stated we should kill for no reason.

~Conclusion~

This is quite possibly the worst argument I've ever heard against nihilism. Not only does my opponent's understanding of objectivity fail at the seams, his understanding of why humans make society or what not also shows a lack of knowledge on his part. His argument concerning morals and nihilism is laughable. True, nihilism states morality is an illusion. But does it demand that we kill for no reason? Heck no.

---References---
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...(sociology)
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Eh Objectivists...
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
The purpose of life is not to live. There is no purpose for life. "

Life requires volitional action. Therefore, if someone lives, life was their purpose. No other possibility is present.
Posted by Paramountdesktop 8 years ago
Paramountdesktop
I apologize.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Pro, it is bad form to extend your argument into the comment section.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
"Neither side was very courteous. Con did little to hide his disdain for Pro and his argument."

--> Duly noted. My conduct could've been better, though I do dislike conduct being a point voted for.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
@CattyCake

Voting based on your own opinion, and without reading the debate thoroughly is just as bad as vote bombing.
Posted by Paramountdesktop 8 years ago
Paramountdesktop
Just want to say that I will initiate this debate again, later...when I have more time. =(
Posted by Paramountdesktop 8 years ago
Paramountdesktop
Thank you, and have a nice day.
Posted by Paramountdesktop 8 years ago
Paramountdesktop
I urge you to vote pro!
Posted by Paramountdesktop 8 years ago
Paramountdesktop
"This is quite possibly the worst argument I've ever heard against nihilism. Not only does my opponent's understanding of objectivity fail at the seams, his understanding of why humans make society or what not also shows a lack of knowledge on his part. His argument concerning morals and nihilism is laughable. True, nihilism states morality is an illusion. But does it demand that we kill for no reason? Heck no."

Such unmerited disdain is laughable. >=(
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