• hallaellerenna
    2
    Was Friedrich Nietzsche for or against Nihilism? The quotes in this video confuses me:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBIQ7jQZqUU&feature=youtu.be

    Thanks
  • David Mo
    734
    Nietzsche was in favor of active nihilism that attacks social values (beyond good and evil).
    He was against passive nihilism that goes against life (will to power).

    He once said that if he had lived in the "mists of Petersburg" he would have been a nihilist. (But with regard to strong and isolated phrases one has to be quite cautious).
  • hallaellerenna
    2
    Alright. Thanks for the answer!
  • Pfhorrest
    2.9k
    Nietzsche saw nihilism as something to be overcome: that people would rightly reject religious doctrine and traditional beliefs and values, and having nothing left, fall into nihilism, but that that was a phase that needed to be overcome, building something new and better in the place of those old rejected views.

    And that about the only thing I agree with him about, what with the rejection of both faith and nihilism being the core of my entire philosophy.
  • praxis
    2.5k
    the rejection of both faith and nihilism being the core if my entire philosophy.Pfhorrest

    So you have no faith in your philosophy?
  • Key
    39


    ooeeuuuh, you gots 'im

    1 : allegiance to duty or a person
    2 : belief and trust in and loyalty to God
    --// belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
    --// firm belief in something for which there is no proof
    3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith
  • praxis
    2.5k


    Just teasing, I imagine he meant religiosity.
  • David Mo
    734
    Nietzsche saw nihilism as something to be overcome:Pfhorrest

    All or almost all nihilists (in Nietzsche's positive sense) think so. First we make tabula rasa and then something better will be built. Worse than what's there now is impossible.
    The main reproach made to them is that they are not very clear about what is going to come next and how. Nietzsche included.
  • MadWorld1
    47


    That's interesting. Does nihilists (in Nietzsche's positive sense) believe in objective moral truth, in the sense that it exists but we don't yet know it? If not, by what metric will something better built?
  • Valentinus
    792
    Nihilism is not a policy to pursue or not. It would be absurd to encourage the absence of meaning as a social end. So, what it is it doing there? In much of the work, it is presented as the removal of a previous condition, not something wished for or hoped against.

    As for the meaning it had when Nietzsche opposed "Christianity" as such, it is not a threat but a conviction. Guilty as charged. That sort of thing.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188


    I imagine most would agree that good philosophy should involve sound reasoning, no? And sound reasoning renders faith superfluous/unnecessary (faith comes in precisely where/when we lack a sound rational or evidential basis for something).

    Nietzsche saw nihilism as something to be overcome: that people would rightly reject religious doctrine and traditional beliefs and values, and having nothing left, fall i to nihilism, but that that was a phase which needed to be overcome, building something new and better in the place of those old rejected views.

    :up: Yep. Though, to be more precise, Nietzsche didn't just think that people "would" reject traditional religious beliefs- he believed that they already had, as a matter of fact. This is the point of the parable of the madman and the death of God. But in Nietzsche's view, people had abandoned the religious doctrines and beliefs, but not the morals that depended on them, leaving contemporary morality as Nietzsche saw it a house with no foundation. And thus the problem (of nihilism), and the need to reevaluate old values and create new ones, ones which are "faithful to the Earth" (i.e. grounded in reality rather than religious dogma or superstition).
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188
    you can certainly disagree with Nietzsche's prescriptions on this point, but he actually had a pretty robust and detailed view of what was to come next (the ubermensch and humanity's "highest specimens", amor fati, affirmation of life, etc) and how it was to be effected (the re-evaluation and destruction of existing values). This is what almost the entirety of his "mature" or later philosophy was concerned with.
  • praxis
    2.5k
    I imagine most would agree that good philosophy should involve sound reasoning, no? And sound reasoning renders faith superfluous/unnecessary (faith comes in precisely where/when we lack a sound rational or evidential basis for something).Enai De A Lukal

    Sound philosophical reasoning is still questionable, right? and a pursuit, of truth or wisdom or whatever, and one can be faithful to that pursuit.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188


    Well sure, but utterly unquestionable/infallible vs. a matter of faith strikes me as an obviously false dilemma- there is ground in the middle, right? And being faithful to a given endeavor is a different matter than having faith in this or that proposition or belief.
  • praxis
    2.5k
    Well sure, but utterly unquestionable/infallible vs. a matter of faith strikes me as an obviously false dilemma- there is ground in the middle, right?Enai De A Lukal

    I suppose the middle ground here is faith in one’s reasoning.

    And being faithful to a given endeavor is a different matter than having faith in this or that proposition or belief.

    Pfhorrest spoke of rejection, of two things, and it being core to his philosophy, so if he faltered in his rejection wouldn’t that show a lack of faith?
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188


    I suppose the middle ground here is faith in one’s reasoning.
    Sounds like an oxymoron, and not what I meant in any case- i.e. that it seems fairly obvious (and certainly plausible at the very least) that there can be reasonable (i.e. well-justified) belief that falls short of certain or infallible knowledge, but is also based on more than mere faith. I would expect most beliefs/positions fall into this category in fact.

    Pfhorrest spoke of rejection, of two things, and it being core to his philosophy, so if he faltered in his rejection wouldn’t that show a lack of faith?
    Faith in, not faith that, I suppose (though you'd have to be more specific, I'm not sure I understand what exactly you're referring to here)... but again, so what?
  • praxis
    2.5k
    ... is also based on more than mere faith.Enai De A Lukal

    I doubt that Pfhorrest’s philosophy is based on mere faith.

    so what?

    So don’t be hung-up with the notion of faith. It’s not only about religious belief.
  • Xtrix
    992


    Nietzsche saw nihilism in the West as the result of the "death" of God and a decadent culture. We've lost our instincts and haven't created a "single new god" in millennia. He is constantly going on about creating new values, in an attempt to overcome this nihilism.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188


    I doubt that Pfhorrest’s philosophy is based on mere faith.

    Um... right. I never said that it was. But that doesn't mean it must be infallible and certain knowledge either- like I said, there's a good deal of middle-ground between mere faith and infallible knowledge, and most views and beliefs probably belong to this category..

    So don’t be hung-up with the notion of faith. It’s not only about religious belief.

    I didn't suggest that it was, and I'm not "hung up with the notion of faith". But I am interested to hear what you were referring to there- how/where/when did Nietzsche "falter in his rejection" of either faith (in the relevant epistemic sense- i.e. faith-that certain propositions are true, not faith-in) or nihilism, and what do you think follows from this?
  • praxis
    2.5k
    I am interested to hear what you were referring to there- how/where/when did Nietzsche "falter in his rejection" of either faith (in the relevant epistemic sense- i.e. faith-that certain propositions are true, not faith-in) or nihilism, and what do you think follows from this?Enai De A Lukal

    I wasn’t talking about Nietz and the faltering was hypothetical, a review of the posts above will reveal. Also, I couldn’t answer because I don’t know the philosophy in question, the core of which rejects both faith and nihilism.

    Incidentally, like Pfhorrest I’m not religious or nihilistic. I believe that I understand these things, how they fit in human development, but it would be awkward to say that I reject them and especially that the rejection was core.
  • David Mo
    734
    Does nihilists (in Nietzsche's positive sense) believe in objective moral truth, in the sense that it exists but we don't yet know it?MadWorld1

    The absolute rejection of existing values implies some kind of strong criterion (i.e. a counter-value). In Nietzsche's case, the will to power. Whether that criterion is defined as "absolute" depends on the types of nihilism.
  • David Mo
    734
    ou can certainly disagree with Nietzsche's prescriptions on this point, but he actually had a pretty robust and detailed view of what was to come next (the ubermensch and humanity's "highest specimens", amor fati, affirmation of life, etc)Enai De A Lukal

    I wouldn't call it detailed. There's no description in Nietzsche's books of the superman society or the means by which it will be reached. It is actually such a vague idea that one can doubt that supermen could ever really form a society. Nietzsche felt like a prophet. And he felt more and more like a prophet as he went deeper into his madness. And prophets aren't usually very accurate.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188


    I certainly would, though I guess YMMV on what you consider "detailed". But there is indeed a description (more than one, in fact, as it was a recurring theme/topic) of the means by which his solution to the problem of nihilism (as posed by the death of God) is reached- i.e. the re-evaluation of all values, philosophizing with a hammer, philosophical laborers clearing the rubble and laying the groundwork for the overman to create new values, and so on. To clear the way for the overman and the creation of new values, the old systems and old values must be critiqued and refuted, and thus his normative account of the role of philosophy (and his own role therein) as primarily negative and critical- clearing out the old, to make room for the new.

    And of course there is no description of a "superman society", since "the goal of mankind cannot lie in its end, but in its highest specimens"- the overman is an individual who is defined, at least in part, by standing apart from the crowd and going their own way. For Nietzsche, a "superman society" would be an oxymoron. Nietzsche had no faith in the masses or the public, in the state, in religious or other institutions- humanity is redeemed, suffering is justified, and nihilism is defeated by those lonely individuals who overcome themselves, impose order onto the chaos of their own passions, and create new values via art and/or philosophy... not by societies or groups.

    So again, one can certainly disagree with Nietzsche's diagnosis and/or prescription, but suggesting that he didn't give a pretty robust or detailed account of what he had in mind simply isn't accurate- virtually everything he wrote from his "middle" period on was preoccupied with this question, and its the crucial context for all the positions and arguments he is famous/notorious for adopting (the will to power/self-overcoming, the overman, the eternal return of the same, his critique of Christianity and traditional morality, etc).
  • Enai De A Lukal
    188
    (that said, his writing style is far from traditional or straight-forward- especially in Zarathustra and his aphoristic works- so its often unclear how his various arguments and comments relate or connect to one another, and so putting the pieces of the puzzle together takes a bit more work than it does with, say, more recent English-speaking philosophers in the analytic tradition... a problem that was made especially acute by his appropriation by the Nazi party and the meddling of his proto-Nazi sister, and the sorry state of Nietzsche scholarship until fairly recently)
  • David Mo
    734
    And of course there is no description of a "superman society", since "the goal of mankind cannot lie in its end, but in its highest specimens"- the overman is an individual who is defined, at least in part, by standing apart from the crowd and going their own way.Enai De A Lukal

    Well, that's what I find extremely inconclusive. After having destroyed Judaeo-Christian morality, anarchism, socialism, liberalism and the Prussian monarchy, supermen would float in an ethereal territory above the masses who, having run out of shepherds, would return to the period before the appearance of the blonde beasts.

    And back to the beginning. Of course.

    As I see it, someone with a social alternative has a strategy and a tactic or is prophesying vagueness. Which is the case with Nietzsche. That's why he could be an inspiration to socialists, anarchists, conservatives and Nazis. They were all fine with it. Strange, isn't it?

    Or was Nietzsche just a mouthpiece nihilist?
  • Enrique
    247
    Was Friedrich Nietzsche for or against Nihilism?hallaellerenna

    The way I see it, Nietzsche essentially viewed nihilism as a naturalistic phenomenon, not inherently good, evil, or bad, merely a fact of the modern world. He analyzed the implications of this psychosocial trait for the course of culture as a philologist who wasn't meek about making radical assertions. The problem is that his philosophical approach adopts highly incendiary interpretive postures, kind of like a will to values, which perhaps were meant to induce decisive confrontation with truth in readers or even just entertain himself, and these are frequently in contradiction. He went so far as to say from out of his extreme relativism that "these are my truths". His literary style is emotionally charged, and its often not a healthy emotion. He had some amazing and deep insights, but amusing oneself by totally confusing the casual reader and making his audience want to get up and run around on the ceiling isn't probably the best strategy. His theories are notorious for being abused because of shallow comprehension and in some cases almost malicious indecipherability.
  • thewonder
    473

    Is this video Nihilist?

    Also, it depends upon you define Nihilism. If it refers to the belief that the human experience is ultimately negative, then, Nietzsche probably would've thought that that should be overcome. If it refers to the belief that the revolution is impossible, but should be attempted to be carried out for its own sake, being more or less the contemporary, at least, Anarchist interpretation of Nihilism, then, since he was not a revolutionary, though was likely to say whatever it was that he did, as well as that he was a freethinker and individualist, though he spoke negatively of Anarchism, then, no. If it refers to the more absurd interpretation of Nihilism, referring to the belief that nothing exists, then, no. If it refers to "the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless", then, sort of, as he did reject all moral principles, but of argues that meaninglessness should be transcended in the creation of new values or whatever. It's difficult to ascribe "Nihilism" to any person's philosophy, as the Nihilists, themselves, tend to believe all sorts of different things. Like Camus, I wouldn't say that Nietzsche was an existential Nihilist, but I would say that he was a nihilistic Existentialist. I would, of course, mean different things by that statement for either philosopher, though.
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    Nietzsche saw nihilism as something to be overcome: that people would rightly reject religious doctrine and traditional beliefs and values, and having nothing left, fall i to nihilism, but that that was a phase which needed to be overcome, building something new and better in the place of those old rejected views.Pfhorrest

    Yeah wonder how that went.
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