The Instigator
WrickItRalph
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Nibiru
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Nihilism is Pointless

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2019 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,194 times Debate No: 120471
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (155)
Votes (0)

 

WrickItRalph

Pro

you can use the first round to establish what kind of nihilism you're arguing for.

Open floor.
Nibiru

Con

Hello,
I'm guessing what you mean by "pointless" is that it adds nothing to our society. If that's the case, I can argue for any forms of nihilism, Or anything at all, Really.
That last part is where my argument lies. You may not personally agree with nihilism, But nothing can be pointless. Nihilism may increase depression and perhaps even cause suicide, But that doesn't make it pointless. Harmful, Maybe. Abnormal, Absolutely. But not pointless.
Debate Round No. 1
WrickItRalph

Pro

Thanks for taking the debate.

When I say that it's pointless, I mean it has not practical use. The whole idea that morals don't exist is counterproductive to society. I believe that some nihilist reject reality as well. These types of mindsets are not a good way for people to get along in society.
Nibiru

Con

Well, "society" is a broad term. If you mean the continued "normal" social order, I would hardly say nihilism is beneficial, Yes. You're clearly correct there. But if you mean it's not useful at all in a functioning society, I'd disagree. Certainly counterproductive, But not pointless.

I'm going to briefly skim through all the forms of nihilism I'm aware of and I am knowledgeable enough to talk about. Metaphysical and Mereological Nihilism are going to sit this one out.
Existential Nihilism is pretty obvious.
Epistemological Nihilism is extreme skepticism in which no piece of knowledge can be fully accepted as true. An example I myself have is Solipsism; the idea that only my own mind is sure to exist. Regularly I am suspicious that every person is monitoring me and has the ability to read my own thoughts.
Moral Nihilism is the view that morality is a social construct, And thus, Relative.

Now, I'm not going to argue in favor of Nihilism; at least not in this debate. I am going to argue in favor of thinkers. Believing and identifying with something gets the mind going, Nihilism or no. I'm not religious, But I wouldn't call Christianity, Or Islam, Or Buddhism pointless. I don't believe in Astrology, But I wouldn't call it pointless. I don't believe in the inherent successful future of our species, Either, But I certainly wouldn't call us pointless. People take a look at these ideas, And they choose to adopt them or not. It keeps us thinking. I'd say that nihilism is probably one of the most controversial, Yet most important ideologies to take a look at. It makes you question you, The people you know, And the human race as a whole.
TL;DR, Nothing is pointless. It just depends on how positively or negatively you believe that point was.
Debate Round No. 2
WrickItRalph

Pro

When I say "society" I mean all people. I'm saying it has no practical use for anyone. I'm not talking about groups or norms.

I'm just going to tie this down so it's not an issue later, Could you define existential nihilism for me. Is that to say that one rejects their own existence being true?

When you say extreme skepticism, Do you mean true skepticism? The believe that we can't truly know anything? I'm pretty sure that's what you're talking about, But I want to make sure we don't talk passed each other.

Solipsism is not problematic in the way I apply my epistemology. All of my beliefs stand on my consciousness. I posit that my consciousness is justified by virtue that I can reject it and it continues to produce reliable information. I don't take axioms or presuppositions. I'm pretty sure those are the same thing, But I wrote both just in case. I also cannot manipulate the consistency of my consciousness. Doing a science experiment from the view of my consciousness would be a good example of this. I can reject reality and drop a pen 100 times and it will drop 100 times. I can try to will the pen not to drop 100 times, But it will till drop 100 times. This means I can audit my reality without having to presuppose the truth of the matter. So I am forced by my epistemology to reject epistemological nihilism. For the purposes of the debate, I will ague that epistemological nihilism seem impractical to me because it necessarily can't make truth claims. Assuming that you believe nothing can be known.

You can demonstrate in reality that people are not reading your mind. I find your fear to be unwarranted. This is an example of why nihilism is impractical. You've reached an extraordinary conclusion "others can read my mind" without sufficient evidence. Taking a practical approach would get you right passed this. Here's the example I use to highlight why solipsism isn't a problem:

I could be eating and drinking in reality and it gives me joy and sustains my life, While in "real reality" I could be strapped into a chair being tortured by demons, And it wouldn't matter. For practical purposes, I don't experience any torture and whatever is happening in "real reality" is keeping me alive, So all that would mean is that demon torture makes me happy and sustains my life and I simply don't know it. Even though I'm unaware. The consistency of the action is practical. This is why it's not problematic for me.

On moral nihilism. I subscribe to this subjective into objective argument. So it is indeed true that moral values are subjective, But once we agree on those values, Any evaluation that we make concerning those values is now objective by definition. Just like it's objectively against the rules of chess to move a rook slanted. The rules of check are subjective, But their application is objective. I'm not sure if moral nihilism poses a moral code or just makes it an opinion. Please clarify in your response so I don't falsely attribute you position.

To this comment, I say that most, If not all of those religions that you stated are impractical. But I'm only here to debate nihilism. I understand your argument however. There might be some religions that can be practical, I can't speak for all 100, 000 some sects. That's why I'm just sticking to nihilism.

You said "I'd say that nihilism is probably one of the most controversial, Yet most important ideologies to take a look at"
Can you provide evidence that it is important? I personally find it vacuous and counterproductive to logic. If you can show me when it is important to have nihilism. That would make your case very strong.

To your last comment, There are indeed things that are pointless. If there is no practical application, Then it's pointless.

One critique of nihilism that i'll add is that there are similar systems that propose the same lack of knowledge, But are still productive, So why not use those? Pragmaticism is one example of this. Taking axioms is also superior to nihilism because at least now people of a basis for objective truths.

Your floor.
Nibiru

Con

Sorry I missed a day, Family emergency.

I think you're missing the forest for the trees with this one. It seems as if by pointless you mean illogical, And in response to that I just redirect you to my previous argument. I applaud your deconstruction of any examples I have given, Really I do, But you're not answering my overall message. I'm not sure what else to say. Back to you.

P. S. Existential Nihilism is the notion that life has no intrinsic value or meaning.
Debate Round No. 3
WrickItRalph

Pro

"It seems as if by pointless you mean illogical, "

I actually pointed out in previous comments that it means impractical, This usually also means illogical, But not necessarily. There could be times that one is forced to make a survival decision and doesn't have time to employ logic. So in this case the "practical" thing to do is also the "illogical" thing to do. This is a subtle but notable difference.

"But you're not answering my overall message. I'm not sure what else to say. Back to you. "

My main point is that nihilism has no practical use. It doesn't add anything to your epistemology that wouldn't already be there without it. Your definition of existential nihilism, For instance, Is a good example of this. "Existential Nihilism is the notion that life has no intrinsic value or meaning" So value is something that humans place on things. Claiming there is no intrinsic value to life is a useless statement. All the emotions inside you are for survival one way or another. Emotions are for empathy or apathy when necessary. Morals are a product of us being a social species and is a further extension of our emotions. Love allows us to pick and choose certain members of our species, Usually direct family, With which to share our personal survival instinct. It's the furthest extension of our emotions. These things are objective. Which is just as good as intrinsic since the word intrinsic is more or less useless, Since, By definition, It is neither qualified nor limited. It's just like saying there's no "absolute meaning" or "really real meaning" It's just a tag to denote that it is being expressed without any subsets. Objective is a much better functional term because it denotes that A) We can sense it and B) It has a standard that is separate from our subjective opinions. Humans universally agree that life is good and death is bad. It is built into our DNA. That's about as "intrinsic" as it gets. Your belief has no benefit and it has the potential to harm since someone who thinks life is meaningless might not want to be alive anymore. They might not want to be moral.
Now you might say that you can be moral anyways, But you can't say it's because of your nihilism. You behave morally because of evolution, Plain and simple. Even when people do behave immorality, It is generally due to nurture vs nature. I'm talking about indoctrination here of course.

I hope I shined some light down on my position a little bit. If you can provide me a practical use for nihilism that I could get without another belief system or at a smaller risk than another belief system, Then I will acknowledge it as not being pointless.
Nibiru

Con

I think I just realized that you meant that it serves no benefit to humans.
If that's the case, I must confess that I agree. Sorry for wasting your time, I wasn't fully aware of the definitions provided.
Debate Round No. 4
155 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
Did someone try to post a comment?
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
We're never going to agree on this. I got to end this conversation because we've just been going in circles
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
Theories explain facts, This makes them tautologies and factual by nature as long as the premises are sound. Proving the premises sound is why they have peer review
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
"You used your subjective experience as a fact"
I never said that. You're just strawmanning me again.

"Do tell me the scientific definition of theory. "
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, Based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. --Wikipedia

"By the way the Big Bang theory is not an objective fact. "
The model could be wrong, But that doesn't make it not a fact. It just doesn't explain everything so it's an incomplete model.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
By the way the Big Bang theory is not an objective fact.

So you are conflating theory to be the same as objective fact.
Who is conflating here?
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
"lol, No. It becomes a theory AFTER peer review. Theory = objective fact. There's nothing subjective about it. The THEORY of gravity is an objective fact. "
Wait what? You used your subjective experience as a fact. Science does not do that. Do you see the difference or is that too much for you?

Lets try and make this simple. Give me a scientist who has proven we have free will.
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
lol, No. It becomes a theory AFTER peer review. Theory = objective fact. There's nothing subjective about it. The THEORY of gravity is an objective fact.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
"all that you're convincing me of is that you don't use logic. Since you just rejected it earlier. "
Where is the logic of using your subjective experience?

"lol, Cause you're not using the scientific definition of theory smart guy. "
Do tell me the scientific definition of theory.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
"you think that science doesn't give evidence? "
Are you really trying to tell me science is on your side? It is not. Scientists admit that the Big Bang is theory. They do not say it is a fact yet you think it is any different with free will. No scientists says it is a fact.

"Is not good enough for you? "
The problem here is that you think science is on your side. It is not. A theory only becomes a scientific fact when he has gone through peer review and actually has evidence. If it is the best explanation they have but cannot be proven then it stays as a theory.
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
all that you're convincing me of is that you don't use logic. Since you just rejected it earlier.
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