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Old 07-31-2019, 01:49 PM
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Can Nihilism Be Your Morality?


I originally thought not. But according to this website, it is apparently (or allegedly) possible.

Many people, some of them apparently scientist and other academics, post questions on the Quora website. And there is a growing faction of people there who claim to choose to live their lives nihilistically. I'm not kidding.

I did post a comment on a thread or two, that basically said, choosing to live with nihilism as your morality is like an atheist claiming atheism is his religion. Nihilism is the repudiation of all morality, just like atheism is the repudiation of all religion. But I seem to rarely get a reply to my post. Or if I get one, it just seems vague and to add nothing more to what was already said.

Am I wrong? Can a person live with nihilism as his morality? And thereafter just live a nihilistic life? I think not. But I could be wrong.

(Quick side note: I have chosen specifically to get questions on religion and morality. So that could be why I seem to see a lot of that subject matter on this website. But it does seem to be what people have to say about the subject matter [morality], in any event. Also, I don't know if you have to be a member to access this website or not. Sorry, if that is the case.)

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Old 07-31-2019, 01:53 PM
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Not all forms of nihilism imply moral nihilism, for example some people use the term "existential nihilism".

~Max
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:55 PM
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Before anybody else says it, I now realize (after viewing my profile) that I did ask a similar question here. The question did seem a little familiar.

Anyways, I think this thread should still go forward, though, because I think this question is a little different. In this thread, I am asking how a person can live with nihilism as their morality.

Mods, if you disagree with me, please let me know.

Yeah, I am slowing down as I have reached middle age. And mistakes like this have unfortunately become common for me. Sorry.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:57 PM
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Not all forms of nihilism imply moral nihilism, for example some people use the term "existential nihilism".

~Max
Sorry, Max S. about the double post. But isn't 'existential nihilism' just another form of nihilism? I always thought it was.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:57 PM
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In this thread, I am asking how a person can live with nihilism as their morality.
Well, it's a confusion of terms. Nobody adopts nihilism-the-rejection-of-all-morality as a basis of morals, just like nobody adopts athiesm-the-rejection-of-all-religion as a basis of religion. They are either living without morals, like some super-Vulcan, or they mean something else when they say "nihilism".

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Old 07-31-2019, 01:59 PM
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Sorry, Max S. about the double post. But isn't 'existential nihilism' just another form of nihilism? I always thought it was.
Existential nihilism is a form of nihilism, but it is not a form of nihilism-the-rejection-of-all-morals. Existential nihilism, depending on who you ask, might mean that value and morality are human constructs - made up. That doesn't mean they don't exist, or that they are necessarily false or to be rejected. Some existential nihilists are very chill people who see it as a "to each his own" philosophy.

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Old 07-31-2019, 02:07 PM
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Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

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Old 07-31-2019, 02:21 PM
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Do people choose their own morality? I don't think I know anybody--outside of the occasional high school or college kid--who just decides that they're going to believe this or that from now on.

I think nihilism is the only sane outlook. We're just here. We won't be forever. Nothing in this universe really matters, and there is no guiding principle outside of math, physics, and chemistry behind it all.

Even so, if I see someone in trouble, I want to help them. No, it doesn't really matter that they're suffering. No, I'm not a better person for helping them out. But it still feels like the right thing to do.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:26 PM
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Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
Not picking on you, but it was a much funnier line before a certain political figure gave a big opening for Nazis to come out of the closet.

Fuck this timeline.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:26 PM
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Do people choose their own morality? I don't think I know anybody--outside of the occasional high school or college kid--who just decides that they're going to believe this or that from now on.
People who reject hard determinism and embrace free will are constantly choosing their own morality. True, it is not often that someone changes their mind, but it is not often that someone changes their religion either. It still happens, especially after life-changing events such as puberty, marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or tragedy.

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Old 07-31-2019, 02:31 PM
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Not picking on you, but it was a much funnier line before a certain political figure gave a big opening for Nazis to come out of the closet.

Fuck this timeline.
Yep.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:40 PM
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"I can do whatever I want with no concern for morality whatsoever, ha ha ha" would appear to be a viable moral system (and indeed, one that is used by a number of well-known people). It would also appear to be completely compatible with all forms of nihilism. Morals don't exist? Yep. Nothing has permanent consequences? Another yep.

So yes, moral nihilism can be your morality. It's functionally equivalent to having no moral system at all, but it differs in that moral nihilism is, indeed, an ethos.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:21 PM
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"I can do whatever I want with no concern for morality whatsoever, ha ha ha" would appear to be a viable moral system (and indeed, one that is used by a number of well-known people). It would also appear to be completely compatible with all forms of nihilism. Morals don't exist? Yep. Nothing has permanent consequences? Another yep.

So yes, moral nihilism can be your morality. It's functionally equivalent to having no moral system at all, but it differs in that moral nihilism is, indeed, an ethos.
Nihilism doesn't say that morals don't exist. It says they only exist because we created them.

To the OP: I regard myself as a nihilist. I decide what my morality is. I decide how to live my life. The fact that many agree with me that certain acts should not be committed in a civilized society doesn't have anything to do with how we all arrived at that conclusion.

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Old 07-31-2019, 03:31 PM
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Nihilism doesn't say that morals don't exist. It says they only exist because we created them.
This would depend entirely on which definition of nihilism one googles up. There are several different ones.

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To the OP: I regard myself as a nihilist. I decide what my morality is. I decide how to live my life. The fact that many agree with me that certain acts should not be committed in a civilized society doesn't have anything to do with how we all arrived at that conclusion.
I don't know what you'd call me, but my morality is self-derived, and I'm of the opinion that all morality is self-derived. If you are taught your morality by somebody else, you don't have morals; you have instructions. (I'm aware that there are definitions of "morals" that include following orders, but, like with nihilism, definitions may vary.)
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:39 PM
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I don't know if this is relevant. But I use the following argument, from time to time, with people who call themselves nihilists, or at least agree with the nihilist theory.

When people say, for example, the Nazi Holocaust was horrible, they are not just emoting or expressing their private feelings. They are saying that the Nazi Holocaust was horrible, because of the pain experienced.

Pain is terrible. Pain is horrible. And I don't know to what degree it is objective. But you have to admit, it is universally felt the same way.

How you would fit this into a moral theory I don't know. Cause when I do it, as a thought experiment, all I come up with is a crude form of extreme moral hedonism.

But you have to admit it is horrible and universally felt that way, at the very least.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:49 PM
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But you have to admit it is horrible and universally felt that way, at the very least.
I don't have to admit anything! You can't make me!

At least one variant of nihilism (metaphysical nihilism) proposes that reality as we know it doesn't actually exist. I'm not one of these sorts and haven't studied it in any depth (and I mean any depth), so the best way I can imagine to construct a model that approximates this is that we're all playing a giant video game. And by "we all" I mean me, and some unspecified number of other people, which doesn't necessarily include any of you and might not include anybody but me. Everyone else is a bot, an NPC, a Sim.

And it doesn't matter when Sims die. It can even be funny.

Historical deaths, in particular, are suspect; it's quite trivial to write wars into a game's backstory without really instantiating any of the fighters for even a moment. They wouldn't even have bot reality; they're just history. No biggie.

Obviously there are some, shall we say, social downsides if any significant number of people see pedestrians while they're driving and yell "ten points!", but even so I'm not sure I could disprove a video game view of reality - or the moral systems that evolve from it.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:01 PM
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Pain is terrible. Pain is horrible. And I don't know to what degree it is objective. But you have to admit, it is universally felt the same way.

How you would fit this into a moral theory I don't know. Cause when I do it, as a thought experiment, all I come up with is a crude form of extreme moral hedonism.
It doesn't have to be extreme moral hedonism, almost any flavor hedonist will denounce the Holocaust (with the notable exception of Nazi sadists). There are other systems of morals. Virtuists (most people in my opinion) might point at the injustice - the untermensch did nothing to deserve their punishment, therefore it was wrong. Utilitarians might say it was a waste of human life, plain and simple.

Nihilists could adopt (almost) any of these arguments, if framed in a morally-relative fashion, and still reject the notion that morality has any intrinsic meaning.

~Max
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:12 PM
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To the OP: I regard myself as a nihilist. I decide what my morality is. I decide how to live my life.
I had thought of nihilism as a rejection of all morals, values, and meaning, while some other term (existentialism?) would apply to someone who constructs their own values and meaning. But I don't know how well that matches the way professional philosophers use the terms.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:19 PM
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This would depend entirely on which definition of nihilism one googles up. There are several different ones.
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I had thought of nihilism as a rejection of all morals, values, and meaning, while some other term (existentialism?) would apply to someone who constructs their own values and meaning. But I don't know how well that matches the way professional philosophers use the terms.
Nihilism posits that there is no inherent morality, not that there is no such thing as morality.

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Old 07-31-2019, 04:21 PM
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I don't know what you'd call me, but my morality is self-derived, and I'm of the opinion that all morality is self-derived.
I'll call you begbert2 or just begbert, since I haven't seen begbert1 around lately to object.

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If you are taught your morality by somebody else, you don't have morals; you have instructions.
I disagree. People can (and do) decide to follow or not follow instructions.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:23 PM
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I had thought of nihilism as a rejection of all morals, values, and meaning, while some other term (existentialism?) would apply to someone who constructs their own values and meaning. But I don't know how well that matches the way professional philosophers use the terms.
The distinction is blurry and it depends on who you ask. There are primers available online at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy or Wikipedia, est. 20-30 minute reads each with summaries and a table of contents at the top.

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Old 07-31-2019, 04:29 PM
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I'll call you begbert2 or just begbert, since I haven't seen begbert1 around lately to object.
You know, I occasionally feel the desire to get snippy about this - it's not like the 2 is silent. But then I remember that I've called Half Man Half Wit HMHW, and thus I really have no leg to stand on. So yeah.

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I disagree. People can (and do) decide to follow or not follow instructions.
They they have devised a moral system that is comprised of the statement "Obey that guy." That's the moral. The instructions, though, aren't morals; they're not even constant. One minute you're told you shall not kill, the next you're told it's inquisition time.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:38 PM
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They they have devised a moral system that is comprised of the statement "Obey that guy." That's the moral. The instructions, though, aren't morals; they're not even constant. One minute you're told you shall not kill, the next you're told it's inquisition time.
It's still a system of morals. There is no rule saying morals have to be constant or absolutist, and if there is, that's just your opinion. Besides, there are plenty of apologetics for any apparent contradiction, and some of them will even say things like "Max, if you can convince me that there is a contradiction, I will renounce my faith".

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Old 07-31-2019, 04:49 PM
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It's still a system of morals. There is no rule saying morals have to be constant or absolutist, and if there is, that's just your opinion. Besides, there are plenty of apologetics for any apparent contradiction, and some of them will even say things like "Max, if you can convince me that there is a contradiction, I will renounce my faith".

~Max
A system of morals has to be constant, or it isn't an ethos.

And words mean exactly what I say they mean. Humpty had the right of it.
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Old 07-31-2019, 05:24 PM
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A system of morals has to be constant, or it isn't an ethos.
As if a system of morals must build an ethos? Morals must be logically consistent, by which I mean there can be no conflicting morals at any one time; for the purpose of morals is to guide decisions, and conflicting instructions make for a poor guide. A system of morals need not be constant or consistent over time. It is perfectly acceptable for an act to be moral one day and immoral the next, or in some situations but not others, so long as it is never both moral and immoral at the same time in the same situation.

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Old 07-31-2019, 06:06 PM
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As if a system of morals must build an ethos? Morals must be logically consistent, by which I mean there can be no conflicting morals at any one time; for the purpose of morals is to guide decisions, and conflicting instructions make for a poor guide. A system of morals need not be constant or consistent over time. It is perfectly acceptable for an act to be moral one day and immoral the next, or in some situations but not others, so long as it is never both moral and immoral at the same time in the same situation.

~Max
Different situations are different acts - presuming your morals shalt not be defined as absolutes.

And seriously, I think this is getting pretty far afield. We aren't even talking about nihilistic morality at all now, are we?
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:27 PM
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Religious-based morality: It is bad to lie, cheat, or steal because doing these things causes harm to one's spirit/soul or relationship with the high power(s). So that's why I am going to avoid doing these things.

Conventional secular morality: It is bad to lie, cheat, or steal because doing these things causes harm to one's community. So that's why I am going to avoid doing these things.

Nihilistic morality: It is a waste of time to tell people what not to do because it's all bullshit in the end anyway. So that's why I am going to avoid doing this.

I don't think the typical nihilist believes everything is bullshit in equal measure. Like, I'm gonna guess that the typical nihilist doesn't think drinking a glass of water in response to thirst is just as pointless as reciting the books of the Bible backwards while standing on one's head. So a rudimentary nihilistic code of conduct might be "If you've got to do something, do things that minimize or prevent immediate suffering. Life is easier without suffering. But don't worry about all the other shit people tell you to do or not do cuz everything is bullshit in the end."


There are people who are proudly apolitical. They avoid taking sides in political discussions. They befriend everyone regardless of political persuasion and negatively judge those who discriminate along political lines, no matter what those lines are. They are convinced that voting doesn't do a damn thing and neither does protesting in the street over injustices. I would argue these so-called apolitical people are actually governed by a political framework of some type since not taking sides is functional endorsement of the status quo. "I'm not going to worry my beautiful mind over climate change/racism/poverty/abortion/gun violence because whatever will happen will happen!" is just as bit a political statement as "Everyone should care about climate change/racism/poverty/abortion/gun violence because we can effect positive change if we all care!"

Someone who claims to have no moral system, but who conducts themselves no differently than anyone else, is fooling themselves. Their moral system may lack a fancy ideological namebrand, but that doesn't mean they aren't operating under a program that aides them in decision-making and value judgments. "I'm not going judge that guy for doing bad things because I don't believe that anything can be objectively judged as bad" is every bit a moral statement as "That bad guy does bad things like the Baddy McBaddington he is and I'm going to keep judging him until he changes!"
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:29 AM
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Existential nihilism is a form of nihilism, but it is not a form of nihilism-the-rejection-of-all-morals. Existential nihilism, depending on who you ask, might mean that value and morality are human constructs - made up. That doesn't mean they don't exist, or that they are necessarily false or to be rejected. Some existential nihilists are very chill people who see it as a "to each his own" philosophy.

~Max

That'd be me. I strongly reject the notion that there are immanent or absolute moral "goods" or codes (even so called "universal taboos" are anything but - incest and cannibalism are usually put forward as items that every man or civilization groks to be Bad ; but I can give you plenty of examples of human civilizations that feature either). I don't think anything we do has any meaning beyond the subjective ; and there's nobody to judge in the end either. It's all stories we tell each other or tell ourselves to try and hide away from the vast, empty, meaningless void of existential despair. Good and Evil are just social, cultural constructs.


But that doesn't mean I give myself free reign to be an asshole. In fact it's very important to me to be understanding and honest to a fault, if only out of pride at being better than other folk in some categories which I arbitrarily weigh high. And it feels nice to be nice most of the time, so that's a bonus.
And at the same time, well, I also have to live with the fact that life's just a ride, nothing ultimately matters and nobody knows the rules and the points are made-up. Some days it's hard, some days it isn't. Patton Oswalt's late wife's motto applies : "Life's chaos, it's cruel ; be kind."
Morals-wise, I seen worse codes demanded from atop higher horses.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:39 AM
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I did post a comment on a thread or two, that basically said, choosing to live with nihilism as your morality is like an atheist claiming atheism is his religion. Nihilism is the repudiation of all morality, just like atheism is the repudiation of all religion. But I seem to rarely get a reply to my post. Or if I get one, it just seems vague and to add nothing more to what was already said.
Atheism is not repudiation of all religion. Even antitheism is not repudiation of all religion.

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Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind.[1][2][3] It involves opposition to organized religion, religious practices or religious institutions. The term antireligion has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such, antireligion is distinct from deity-specific positions such as atheism (the lack of belief in deities) and antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities); although "antireligionists" may also be atheists or antitheists.
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Old 08-01-2019, 09:10 AM
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Patton Oswalt's late wife's motto applies : "Life's chaos, it's cruel ; be kind."
Morals-wise, I seen worse codes demanded from atop higher horses.
The problem with nihilistic morality is that you haven't.

There are no better or worse moral codes from that point of view. High horse, low horse, no horse - there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel. And "I just feel like that" is also completely arbitrary and has no meaning.

If nihilism is true, then all moral codes are meaningless, including nihilistic ones. And all moral statements, without exception, have the same moral weight as a sneeze or an itch.

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Old 08-01-2019, 09:27 AM
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The problem with nihilistic morality is that you haven't.

There are no better or worse moral codes from that point of view. High horse, low horse, no horse - there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel. And "I just feel like that" is also completely arbitrary and has no meaning.

If nihilism is true, then all moral codes are meaningless, including nihilistic ones. And all moral statements, without exception, have the same moral weight as a sneeze or an itch.
It's sort of a catch-22, but this is already the case... if you decide it is. Or it isn't, if you decide it isn't. Morality is a human-created concept. I believe in right and wrong, but these are human-created concepts, and I choose to believe in them and act within them because I think the world is better if we behave within these human-created constraints (but only my version of right and wrong, of course ).

Lots of folks believe these are not human-created concepts, but rather come from a higher power or powers, but that's also just another decision these humans are making. Moral codes have the exact weight placed on them by humans. Same goes with meaning -- the meaning we find in life is up to us, even if we decide that meaning comes from elsewhere.

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Old 08-01-2019, 09:32 AM
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The problem with nihilistic morality is that you haven't.

There are no better or worse moral codes from that point of view. High horse, low horse, no horse - there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel. And "I just feel like that" is also completely arbitrary and has no meaning.

If nihilism is true, then all moral codes are meaningless, including nihilistic ones. And all moral statements, without exception, have the same moral weight as a sneeze or an itch.
All of this wrong. Moral codes have meaning to the people who hold them. Otherwise, they would hold different moral codes.

For instance, "there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel" is ridiculous. Being kind usually won't get you punched in the face. Being cruel may make people want to punch you in the face. Being kind will cause others to treat you kindly. Being kind makes me feel better than being cruel makes me feel. Being cruel will cause others to shun you. There's a bunch of reasons right there, with plenty of meaning.

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Old 08-01-2019, 09:37 AM
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Morality is simply an individual's code of conduct that they can justify through some reasoning process or ideology. A nihilist operates by a code--one that they can justify with reasons. Thus, they have a morality system.



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Old 08-01-2019, 09:43 AM
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All of this wrong. Moral codes have meaning to the people who hold them. Otherwise, they would hold different moral codes.
The different moral codes are no more meaningful than the original ones.
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For instance, "there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel" is ridiculous. Being kind usually won't get you punched in the face. Being cruel may make people want to punch you in the face. Being kind will cause others to treat you kindly. Being kind makes me feel better than being cruel makes me feel. Being cruel will cause others to shun you. There's a bunch of reasons right there, with plenty of meaning.
Those reasons have exactly the same weight and meaning as "God wants us to be kind to each other". They are based on unproven and unproveable axioms. Thus, according to nihilism, they are equal.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
All of this wrong. Moral codes have meaning to the people who hold them. Otherwise, they would hold different moral codes.

For instance, "there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel" is ridiculous. Being kind usually won't get you punched in the face. Being cruel may make people want to punch you in the face. Being kind will cause others to treat you kindly. Being kind makes me feel better than being cruel makes me feel. Being cruel will cause others to shun you. There's a bunch of reasons right there, with plenty of meaning.
If you're a true nihilist, having people punch you in the face is not intrinsically less desirable than having them treat you kindly. In fact, something being desirable, if it can be construed in the first place, is not ...

never mind, my head hurts. Theoretical perspectives that assert the lack of meaning or value always make my head hurt.
  #36  
Old 08-01-2019, 10:23 AM
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The different moral codes are no more meaningful than the original ones.
Those reasons have exactly the same weight and meaning as "God wants us to be kind to each other". They are based on unproven and unproveable axioms. Thus, according to nihilism, they are equal.

Regards,
Shodan
Wrong. They are based on easily tested and provable axioms. I enjoy getting punched in the face a lot less than I enjoy not being punched in the face: axiom tested and proved.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:31 AM
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So, punching a nihilist in the face immediately after they self identify as nihilists is morally identical to simply ignoring everything about them? (From their ethical perspective, of course, your own moral values might say otherwise but a true nihilist would find nothing objectionable about either.)

Would committed nihilists find efforts to exterminate their own number ethically undesirable?

It's all about the level of commitment, I suppose.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:40 AM
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When people say, for example, the Nazi Holocaust was horrible, they are not just emoting or expressing their private feelings. They are saying that the Nazi Holocaust was horrible, because of the pain experienced.

Pain is terrible. Pain is horrible. And I don't know to what degree it is objective. But you have to admit, it is universally felt the same way.
Tell that to Eichmann or Jeckeln or any of the other human filth who felt nothing for their victims.
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Old 08-01-2019, 10:44 AM
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I enjoy getting punched in the face a lot less than I enjoy not being punched in the face: axiom tested and proved.
You haven't established a reason for valuing your enjoyment over your lack thereof, though.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:06 AM
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You haven't established a reason for valuing your enjoyment over your lack thereof, though.
"Enjoy" is the reason; there is no need for absurd reduction.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
All of this wrong. Moral codes have meaning to the people who hold them. Otherwise, they would hold different moral codes.

For instance, "there is no more reason to be kind than there is to be cruel" is ridiculous. Being kind usually won't get you punched in the face. Being cruel may make people want to punch you in the face. Being kind will cause others to treat you kindly. Being kind makes me feel better than being cruel makes me feel. Being cruel will cause others to shun you. There's a bunch of reasons right there, with plenty of meaning.
Nothing you noted has an absolute value to it though. Being kind may indeed get people to be kind to you, OR it may cause them to punch you in the face because they see you as weak.

Being cruel may indeed have the effect that no one wants to be around but others might find it attractive to be around, as a protective measure.

At the end of the day, most of our moral codes are based upon what society deems they want. Murder to be illegal, people don't murder. Whether that is based upon what they feel to be right or just because it's against the law. It originated from what society deemed important or needed for society to thrive, or survive.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:08 AM
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So, punching a nihilist in the face immediately after they self identify as nihilists is morally identical to simply ignoring everything about them? (From their ethical perspective, of course, your own moral values might say otherwise but a true nihilist would find nothing objectionable about either.)
Who are you, that you get to define "true nihilist" and others do not?
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:08 AM
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It's becoming really, really clear that we're not all on the same page as to what we all think the word "nihilism" means.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:09 AM
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Nothing you noted has an absolute value to it though. Being kind may indeed get people to be kind to you, OR it may cause them to punch you in the face because they see you as weak.

Being cruel may indeed have the effect that no one wants to be around but others might find it attractive to be around, as a protective measure.

At the end of the day, most of our moral codes are based upon what society deems they want. Murder to be illegal, people don't murder. Whether that is based upon what they feel to be right or just because it's against the law. It originated from what society deemed important or needed for society to thrive, or survive.
I hope you don't think that was a gotcha moment or something. I mean, I don't disagree with anything you wrote.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:10 AM
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It's becoming really, really clear that we're not all on the same page as to what we all think the word "nihilism" means.
Aye. The key is "inherent". There is not inherent meaning, no inherent morality in the universe, in existence. Any definition that doesn't contain that concept is incorrect.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 08-01-2019 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
"Enjoy" is the reason; there is no need for absurd reduction.
Don't get me wrong; I agree that it is absurd to have to justify valuing "enjoy". I'm just noting that it is, in fact, a valuation. It is nihilism that strikes me as absurd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2
It's becoming really, really clear that we're not all on the same page as to what we all think the word "nihilism" means.
yeah, that.
  #47  
Old 08-01-2019, 11:15 AM
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Don't get me wrong; I agree that it is absurd to have to justify valuing "enjoy". I'm just noting that it is, in fact, a valuation. It is nihilism that strikes me as absurd.
Nihilism doesn't say we can't ascribe value and meaning to things, tho. It doesn't say that there cannot be value or meaning. It just says that there is no inherent value or meaning to anything.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:35 AM
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Nihilism doesn't say we can't ascribe value and meaning to things, tho. It doesn't say that there cannot be value or meaning. It just says that there is no inherent value or meaning to anything.
If (for example) pleasure, or happiness, are not inherently valuable, and yet we choose to ascribe value to them anyway, we do so for... random reasons? Arbitrary ones? Reasons other than "yeesh, don't be absurd, it's bloody obviously inherently valuable, anybody knows that", at any rate, yes?

There's nothing keeping us from doing so (placing a value on something even though it has no intrinsic value). But if you have done so, you can't readily engage with other people and argue for the goodness of what you value. You're basically on record as stating that you assigned a value to it based on its correspondence to other things to which you assigned value, all the way back to pleasure or happiness which aren't intrinsically valuable. Might as well chuck a dart at a dart board blindfolded and wherever it lands, that's what you'll value.

Last edited by AHunter3; 08-01-2019 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:51 AM
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Nihilism doesn't say we can't ascribe value and meaning to things, tho. It doesn't say that there cannot be value or meaning. It just says that there is no inherent value or meaning to anything.
Making certain assumptions about what the terms "value" and "meaning" mean, I suppose that means I'm probably a nihilist. (By your understanding of the term, anyway.)

The "certain assumptions" I'm making are that "value" and "meaning" are, er, value judgements, which require that there be a sentient entity doing the valuation. Or put another way, value and meaning are inherently qualities that must be some intelligent entity's opinion - there aren't "value particles" that can be embedded in an object's substructure or "meaning waves" that are generated when an act is carried out.

As an atheist, I don't believe that there's any outside sentient force that has the authority to assign "objective" or "inherent" value/meaning to things. (As an armchair linguist, I note that even if there were a god making such judgements, they're still not objective or inherent - they're just subjective to an entity that's in a position to enforce its will on others.)

Or put another way, I think the very notions of "value" and "meaning" are inherently incapable of being objective or inherent, by definition. Value is always in the eye of some beholder, even if the beholder is a god.

This doesn't mean it's impossible for individuals to hold value or find meaning in things, of course. But it does mean that value and meaning only exist as long as there's a person to espouse the opinions. Once Earth drops into the sun and everybody's dead, value and meaning vanish too. (Until the aliens arrive and decide that the space debris left over from humanity's reign are the most awesome and important collectibles ever, anyway.)

And holding the above opinions makes me a nihilist...? Yes? No? I don't know.

In any case, if all value is subjective, then morality based on value must also be subjective - though it can, as noted, be imparted to or forced upon others via trying to teach them to share your opinions or by promising/threatening rewards or punishments depending on how well their behavior conforms to your own morality. So if there really was some god out there sending everyone who annoys him to hell, then that wouldn't really be objective morality, but it would be morality that everyone has to deal with and (if they knew about it) account for nonetheless.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:57 AM
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Wrong. They are based on easily tested and provable axioms. I enjoy getting punched in the face a lot less than I enjoy not being punched in the face: axiom tested and proved.
That's not the axiom. The axiom is "whatever you like has moral weight".

Regards,
Shodan
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