<ethics> the belief that there is no value or truth. Literally, a belief in nothing (nihil in Latin). Most contemporary discussions of nihilism arise out of a consideration of Friedrich Nietzsche's remarks on nihilism, especially in The Will to Power. Nihilism can also be described as an extreme form of existentialism or pessimism which holds that life has no meaning and that even if you try to achieve your goals, in the end your life must necessarily come to nothing - thus nihilism is similar to fatalism. Sometimes, nihilism is worse than fatalism because nihilists don't usually say that life comes to zero but to less than zero, since they hold that life really just consists of one thing: pain. Nihilism is popularly taken to refer to wanton destruction for its own sake, a sort of activist irrationalism. Recommended Reading: Stanley Rosen, Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay (St. Augustine, 2000); Simon Critchley, Very Little-Almost Nothing: Death, Philosophy, Literature (Routledge, 1997); Karl Lowith, Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism, ed. by Richard Wolin and Gary Steiner (Columbia, 1998); and David Levin, The Body's Recollection of Being: Phenomenological Psychology and the Deconstruction of Nihilism (Routlege, 1990).
Based on [The Ism Book] and the [Ethics Glossary] [A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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