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Two Brands Of Nihilism Essay

1423 words - 6 pages

As philosopher and poet Nietzsche's work is not easily conformable to thetraditional schools of thought within philosophy. However, an unmistakable concern withthe role of religion and values penetrates much of his work. Contrary to the traditionbefore him, Nietzsche launches vicious diatribes against Christianity and the dualisticphilosophies he finds essentially life denying. Despite his early tutelage under the influenceof Schopenhauer's philosophy, Nietzsche later philosophy indicates a refusal to castexistence as embroiled in pessimism but, instead, as that which should be affirmed, even inthe face of bad fortune. This essay will study in further detail Nietzsche view ofSchopenhauer and Christianity as essentially nihilistic.NihilismThroughout his work Nietzsche makes extensive use of the term "nihilism". Intexts from the tradition prior to Nietzsche, the term connotes a necessary connectionbetween atheism and the subsequent disbelief in values. It was held the atheist regardedthe moral norms of society as merely conventional, without any justification by rationalargument. Furthermore, without a divine authority prohibiting any immoral conduct, allappeals to morality by authority become hollow. By the atheists reckoning then, all actsare permissible.With Nietzsche's appearance on the scene, however, arrives the most potentarguments denying the necessary link between atheism and nihilism. It will bedemonstrated that Nietzsche, in fact, will argue it is in the appeal to divine proscriptionsthat the most virulent nihilism will attain.There is a second sense of nihilism that appears as an outgrowth of the first thatNietzsche appeals to in his critique of values. It contends that not only does an active,pious, acknowledgment of a divinity foster nihilism, but also, the disingenuous worship ofa deity that has been replaced in the life man by science, too, breeds a passive nihilism.ChristianityNietzsche conceives the first variety of nihilism, that fostered through activeworship, as pernicious due to its reinforcement of a fundamental attitude that denies life.Throughout his life Nietzsche argued the contemporary metaphysical basis for belief in adeity were merely negations of, or tried to deny, the uncertainties of what is necessarily asituated human existence. Religious doctrine is steeped in, and bounded by references togood and evil and original sin.The religious student is taught original sin, with the hopes the student willfaithfully deny a human nature. Good and evil are not the approbation or prohibitionagainst certain actions, rather, such doctrine codifies self hatred and begs the rejection of"human nature". Christianity goes beyond a denial of just the flesh and blood of the bodyto do away with the whole of the world. In Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche suggests inseveral places, that the world is falsified when dictated by the tenets of dualisticphilosophies, with emphasis on Christianity.How the "True World" Finally Became Fable, a...

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