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Nihilism

Beginner
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12/9/2014 2:59:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I can't seem to be able to think of anything that is absolutely, objectively necessary. Religion, morality, etc. I can't seem to be able to establish a necessarily objective standard for anything.
Why do we need to do anything at all outside of subjectively evolved desires and needs?
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Benshapiro
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12/9/2014 9:32:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Preferring life over death is necessary to sustain existence so in that sense it's necessary.
phiLockeraptor
Posts: 233
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12/10/2014 12:27:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/9/2014 2:59:55 PM, Beginner wrote:
I can't seem to be able to think of anything that is absolutely, objectively necessary. Religion, morality, etc. I can't seem to be able to establish a necessarily objective standard for anything.
Why do we need to do anything at all outside of subjectively evolved desires and needs?

Well, first off, ignoring all other objective things, is the statement "Fulfilling subjective desires and needs is necessary" not objective?

Second, I'd argue that the objective standard of "Do not interfere with someone elses subjective desires and needs" naturally follows, since all desires and needs are equally valid.

Third, if a organization or structure can fulfill a great number of subjective desires, then it may not be necessary, but it certainly is a good institution, provided it doesn't interfere with the desires of others.

Finally, there's the argument beyond the individual. when we look at how species evolve, typically, natural selection is on a species wide scale. Given that one of humanities greatest advantages is the unique ability to form teams, and get complex ideas and tasks across, another objective standard could be that "humans must be able and willing to work together for the benefit of the group, in order to maintain humanities place as the dominant species."

What naturally follows is that the greater the ability to work together, the better off humanity is. This means that divisiveness can destroy. From this we can gather that "Nationalism and geopolitical power play that violates the previous principles is not acceptable".

To conclude:

1. If all subjective standards, needs, and desires are equally valid, then it is an objective principle that we should not violate the fulfillment of the subjective needs of others in order to fulfill our own.

2. If fulfilling subjective standards, needs, and desires is good,then an institution (such as a government, or church) that fulfills these effectively is good, and sometimes even necessary ( in the case of faith and a need to eel a sense of belonging, for instance).

3. Natural selection is largely on a species wide level. Humanities greatest advantage, beyond individual intelligence, is its ability to employ teamwork to solve complex problems. Thus, in order to avoid the extinction of our species and the death of all members within it, we must have the objective standard that "teamwork is good".

4. If teamwork is an advantage, then division is a disadvantage. Therefore, nationalistic divides between countries and races can be seen as objectively bad. Furthermore, any institution which violates the principles previously set forth can be said to be "bad".

5. Ignoring all of the above arguments, there is at least one objective standard: "Fulfillment of subjective needs and desires is good".

Any questions?
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
Beginner
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12/10/2014 2:08:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
phiLockeraptor:
I agree that all subjective desires are equally insignificant in an objective sense. I also agree that I am a human being and have evolved the desire to further propagate the survival of my species, to avoid pain, to seek pleasure, etc.
I subjectively value the 'greater good', but the greater good is subjectively defined. It only holds value to us due to our subjective nature and nothing else.
The good of the human species is subjectively valued by only the human species.
Outside of humanity's perspective, humanity doesn't matter.
Life doesn't matter.
Nothing matters.
Nihilism.
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Beginner
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12/10/2014 2:12:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Nihilism only contradicts itself (somewhat) in one single way:
It holds that everything is equally insignificant. This, by itself, is an objective argument.
However, the discrepancies in all other systems are worse. Nihilism's faults seem minimal compared to that of others.
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headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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12/10/2014 2:15:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/9/2014 2:59:55 PM, Beginner wrote:
I can't seem to be able to think of anything that is absolutely, objectively necessary. Religion, morality, etc. I can't seem to be able to establish a necessarily objective standard for anything.
Why do we need to do anything at all outside of subjectively evolved desires and needs?

I think you misunderstand nihilism o.o
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
Beginner
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12/10/2014 4:59:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/9/2014 9:32:23 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Preferring life over death is necessary to sustain existence so in that sense it's necessary.

But is existence really necessary?
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Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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12/10/2014 6:48:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/9/2014 2:59:55 PM, Beginner wrote:
I can't seem to be able to think of anything that is absolutely, objectively necessary. Religion, morality, etc. I can't seem to be able to establish a necessarily objective standard for anything.
Why do we need to do anything at all outside of subjectively evolved desires and needs?

Keep Calm. Embrace Nihilism.

Or... Let Nihilism embrace you!
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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12/11/2014 9:20:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/10/2014 12:27:07 AM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
Well, first off, ignoring all other objective things, is the statement "Fulfilling subjective desires and needs is necessary" not objective?

No, it is not objective, and more precisely it is not a complete sentence, in terms of even being able to have any status with regard to objectivity. The word "necessary" is relational, and you need to define a standard of "necessary to" in order for the relational part to become meaningful as a truthful statement rather than an instruction.

The current form of the sentence is more like an instruction, since it doesn't define any standard other than itself, so in asserting that fulfilling desires and needs is necessary - in order to fulfill them - and implying that this is an imperative, it instructs us essentially to pursue these goals "for their own sake".

Second, I'd argue that the objective standard of "Do not interfere with someone elses subjective desires and needs" naturally follows, since all desires and needs are equally valid.

No, the statement / instruction "Fulfilling subjective desires and needs is objectively necessary" does not imply that all desires are equally valid (in fact I would say that it implies the opposite), and I do not see whatsoever how you could extract deductively from it the statement that "interfering with the subjective desires and needs of others is objectively invalid".

Third, if a organization or structure can fulfill a great number of subjective desires, then it may not be necessary, but it certainly is a good institution, provided it doesn't interfere with the desires of others.

I think your caveat there is unfounded, and as for the rest of the above, it amounts to a tautology - which is not meaningful - and therefore it doesn't 'meaningfully' dispute nihilism.

Finally, there's the argument beyond the individual. when we look at how species evolve, typically, natural selection is on a species wide scale. Given that one of humanities greatest advantages is the unique ability to form teams, and get complex ideas and tasks across, another objective standard could be that "humans must be able and willing to work together for the benefit of the group, in order to maintain humanities place as the dominant species."

This "standard" essentially takes the form of "X will lead to Y". Ie, it has the same structure as something like, "If I eat, I won't be hungry anymore." This is not moral, nor does it have any meaning beyond its own assertion about certain causal relationships.

What naturally follows is that the greater the ability to work together, the better off humanity is. This means that divisiveness can destroy. From this we can gather that "Nationalism and geopolitical power play that violates the previous principles is not acceptable".

The problem with using these causal statements as objective standards is that ultimately they assume some end result as itself an objective value, without justification. In this case, you assume "bettering humanity" (which is itself begging the question) as a whole is objectively valuable, and define the objective value of other things in relation to that, but don't justify the end result itself.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
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12/11/2014 9:28:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/10/2014 2:12:35 PM, Beginner wrote:
Nihilism only contradicts itself (somewhat) in one single way:
It holds that everything is equally insignificant. This, by itself, is an objective argument.
However, the discrepancies in all other systems are worse. Nihilism's faults seem minimal compared to that of others.

If nihilism stated that everything were insignificant - even "equally" - then it would still be positing some towering 'objective standard' below which all of this 'everything' were laying. That is not nihilism but some kind of spiritual pessimism. Nihilism would question the concept of 'objective significance' itself, and therefore cut off the possibility of relationships with such a standard altogether.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Bennett91
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12/11/2014 9:37:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/9/2014 9:32:23 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Preferring life over death is necessary to sustain existence so in that sense it's necessary.

But that only matters if you value your life/existence. Suicide bombers/kamikaze pilots do not find life over death to be a necessity.
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12/11/2014 10:21:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/11/2014 9:28:07 AM, sdavio wrote:
If nihilism stated that everything were insignificant - even "equally" - then it would still be positing some towering 'objective standard' below which all of this 'everything' were laying. That is not nihilism but some kind of spiritual pessimism. Nihilism would question the concept of 'objective significance' itself, and therefore cut off the possibility of relationships with such a standard altogether.

The form of Nihilism I am expounding holds false only via trivial linguistics.
If I were to reword it from "Nothing is objectively significant" to "Nothing matters", I'd be removing the argument from its subjective/objective dependency.
Nothing matters means just what is written.

Does it matter that nothing matters? No.
Can I still hold "nothing matters" to be true minus objectivity constraints? Yes.
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sdavio
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12/11/2014 10:39:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/11/2014 10:21:13 AM, Beginner wrote:
At 12/11/2014 9:28:07 AM, sdavio wrote:
If nihilism stated that everything were insignificant - even "equally" - then it would still be positing some towering 'objective standard' below which all of this 'everything' were laying. That is not nihilism but some kind of spiritual pessimism. Nihilism would question the concept of 'objective significance' itself, and therefore cut off the possibility of relationships with such a standard altogether.

The form of Nihilism I am expounding holds false only via trivial linguistics.
If I were to reword it from "Nothing is objectively significant" to "Nothing matters", I'd be removing the argument from its subjective/objective dependency.
Nothing matters means just what is written.

Does it matter that nothing matters? No.
Can I still hold "nothing matters" to be true minus objectivity constraints? Yes.

If I understand, your post seems to be addressing the argument that "nothing is objectively true", for instance, is an objective-truth statement, or that "nothing is valuable" somehow upholds a value. I think these arguments work only from within the paradigm that's being denied, so they appear as good arguments only to those people who are unable to view things other than through these dichotomies; "all statements are asserted as either 'objectively true' or 'objectively false'", or "every statement asserts the objective value of what it asserts". To hold one of these positions, and then when someone questions it, to fall back on the assertions to undermine the questioner - saying that asking for their justification is to assert the objective value of justification - is IMO one of the most flagrant and common examples of begging the question / circular reasoning. It somehow deems it necessary that everyone holds the same opinion, simply by means of blocking its ears when anything outside its narrow field of possibilities comes along.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Beginner
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12/11/2014 10:51:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/11/2014 10:39:06 AM, sdavio wrote:
It somehow deems it necessary that everyone holds the same opinion, simply by means of blocking its ears when anything outside its narrow field of possibilities comes along.
You're right. I was being unreasonable. I will respond as soon as my nihilism debate finishes, but I see exactly what you're saying.
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sdavio
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12/11/2014 11:13:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/11/2014 10:51:46 AM, Beginner wrote:
At 12/11/2014 10:39:06 AM, sdavio wrote:
It somehow deems it necessary that everyone holds the same opinion, simply by means of blocking its ears when anything outside its narrow field of possibilities comes along.
You're right. I was being unreasonable. I will respond as soon as my nihilism debate finishes, but I see exactly what you're saying.

I'll look forward to it :)
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
phiLockeraptor
Posts: 233
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12/13/2014 3:16:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/11/2014 9:20:24 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 12/10/2014 12:27:07 AM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
Well, first off, ignoring all other objective things, is the statement "Fulfilling subjective desires and needs is necessary" not objective?

No, it is not objective, and more precisely it is not a complete sentence, in terms of even being able to have any status with regard to objectivity. The word "necessary" is relational, and you need to define a standard of "necessary to" in order for the relational part to become meaningful as a truthful statement rather than an instruction.

You misunderstand. If you'll look at the original post, the thread starts with the presupposition that fulfilling subjective needs and desires is necessary. That's what I'm going off of.

Plus, the word "need" implies a necessity.

The current form of the sentence is more like an instruction, since it doesn't define any standard other than itself, so in asserting that fulfilling desires and needs is necessary - in order to fulfill them - and implying that this is an imperative, it instructs us essentially to pursue these goals "for their own sake".

I'd say that we're born with an instinctive drive to get certain things, and that those "desires" vary from person to person and might be based more on nurture rather than nature. Regardless, they are there, and given that we desire them, we get fulfillment out of achieving them. This sort of psychological evaluation is, unfortunately, outside of the realm of a purely logical and objective discussion.

However, I will expand upon 'desires'. The fact that fulfilling a desire also brings happiness/fulfillment, however irrationally based, is true by definition (in other words, it's an analytical a priori).

Second, I'd argue that the objective standard of "Do not interfere with someone elses subjective desires and needs" naturally follows, since all desires and needs are equally valid.

No, the statement / instruction "Fulfilling subjective desires and needs is objectively necessary" does not imply that all desires are equally valid (in fact I would say that it implies the opposite), and I do not see whatsoever how you could extract deductively from it the statement that "interfering with the subjective desires and needs of others is objectively invalid".

Look at it his way. If everyone's fulfillment of their own subjective desires are necessary (or even merely beneficial) to them, then interfering with them brings undeserved harm upon those who hold them. That's where the objectivity comes from.

Note that when I say objectivity I merely mean a universal rule to live by, not a logical answer to all great philosophical questions.

Third, if a organization or structure can fulfill a great number of subjective desires, then it may not be necessary, but it certainly is a good institution, provided it doesn't interfere with the desires of others.

I think your caveat there is unfounded, and as for the rest of the above, it amounts to a tautology - which is not meaningful - and therefore it doesn't 'meaningfully' dispute nihilism.

Finally, there's the argument beyond the individual. when we look at how species evolve, typically, natural selection is on a species wide scale. Given that one of humanities greatest advantages is the unique ability to form teams, and get complex ideas and tasks across, another objective standard could be that "humans must be able and willing to work together for the benefit of the group, in order to maintain humanities place as the dominant species."

This "standard" essentially takes the form of "X will lead to Y". Ie, it has the same structure as something like, "If I eat, I won't be hungry anymore." This is not moral, nor does it have any meaning beyond its own assertion about certain causal relationships.

What naturally follows is that the greater the ability to work together, the better off humanity is. This means that divisiveness can destroy. From this we can gather that "Nationalism and geopolitical power play that violates the previous principles is not acceptable".

The problem with using these causal statements as objective standards is that ultimately they assume some end result as itself an objective value, without justification. In this case, you assume "bettering humanity" (which is itself begging the question) as a whole is objectively valuable, and define the objective value of other things in relation to that, but don't justify the end result itself.

Again, I'm replying to the original post, which doesn't define 'nilhism' very specifically. I understand the problem my natural selection arguments arise from a moral standpoint, but the original post wasn't talking about moral nilhism in particular, so I was just offering one of many motivations.

Would you like to talk about this on a seperate thread?
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
sdavio
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12/13/2014 6:24:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/13/2014 3:16:14 AM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
Would you like to talk about this on a seperate thread?

I'd be glad to respond in another thread or this thread, whatever you prefer.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Beginner
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12/22/2014 4:34:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/11/2014 10:39:06 AM, sdavio wrote:
So my response to your pointing out taking Nihilism as an objective truism despite nihilism's rejection of objective truths is:
I think that the contradiction of Nihilism is in its self declaration, but it can still be shown that nothing has provable necessary truth value (even Nihilism itself).
Thus you can negate the declaration of Nihilism as being contradictory, but you can't negate its application over everything else.

And this is why, when i compare the gaping assumption of some objective value in other ideological systems to the single contradiction of Nihilism, I find that Nihilism seems to be superior.
That I can apply subjective constraints to everything means that, considering Nihilism's contradiction, it is 99.9999999~% correct. That's incredibly accurate, and is much more definite than any other ideological system that I know of.

I am glad to have been shown that Nihilism is not 100% correct. This means that Nihilism is not definitely not a truism, even if by a small margin.
Most correct != correct
I think I'll leave it at that. Thanks for the discussion.
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