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Nihilism Original Writing Essay

3415 words - 14 pages

Nihilism- Original Writing

Nihilism as a philosophical position is the view that the world, and
especially human existence, is without meaning, purpose,
comprehensible truth, or essential value. It is more often a charge
leveled against a particular idea than a position to which someone is
overtly subscribed. Movements such as Dada, Deconstructionism, and
punk/black metal/ death metal/ metal/goth have been described by
various observers as "nihilist". Nihilism is also a characteristic
that has been ascribed to time periods: for example, Baudrillard has
called postmodernity a nihilistic epoch, and some Christian
theologians and figures of authority assert that modernity and
postmodernity represent the rejection of God, and therefore are

Prominent philosophers that have written on nihilism include Friedrich
Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Nietzsche described Christianity as a
nihilistic religion, because it removed meaning from this earthly
life, and focused instead on a supposed afterlife. He also saw
nihilism as a natural result of the idea that "God is Dead", and
insisted that it was something to be overcome, by returning meaning to
the earth. Heidegger described nihilism as the state where "there is
nothing left of Being as such", and argued that nihilism rested on the
reduction of Being to mere value.

Definition of Nihilism

The Latin indefinite pronoun nihili ('nothing') is a reduced form of
nihilum, a term that derives from ne-hilom, an emphatic form of the
negation ne by means of hilum, meaning 'the slightest amount' and of
uncertain origin.

Nihilism in Philosophy

Though the term nihilism was first popularized by Ivan Turgenev), it
was first introduced into philosophical discourse by Friedrich
Heinrich Jacobi (1743–1819), who used the term to characterize
rationalism, and in particular Immanuel Kant’s "critical" philosophy
in order to carry out a reductio ad absurdum according to which all
rationalism (philosophy as criticism) reduces to nihilism, and thus it
should be avoided and replaced with a return to some type of faith and

Friedrich Nietzsche's later work displays a preoccupation with
nihilism. Book One of the posthumous collection The Will to Power (a
highly selective arrangement of jottings from various notebooks and
from a surceased project began by Nietzsche himself, then released by
his sister,Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche is entitled "European
Nihilism," which he calls "the problem of the nineteenth century."
Nietzsche characterized nihilism as emptying the world and especially
human existence of meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or
essential value.

Though some deride it as nihilistic, postmodernism can be contrasted
with the above formulation of nihilism in that nihilism...

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