nihilism

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:11 pm

satyr wrote: Some people still do not understand my positions even when I've repeated them a thousand times in a dozen different ways.


Tell me about it! Mine too!! You know, here!!!

Well, okay, maybe not in a dozen different ways: 8)

satyr wrote: Nihilism is a defensive reaction TO the emergence of self-cosnciuosness.
Memetics evolution proceeds from genetic evolution...and then exceeds it so as to guarantee and reinforce the sheltering effects with double and triple levels of contingency.


Allow me to translate this for you:

Nihilism is an intellectual contraption that has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to actual human interactions.

On the other hand, sure, if anyone here speaks "serious philosophy" fluently and would like to make an attempt to note its relevance to their own interactions with others, by all means, give it a shot.

satyr wrote: blah blah blah
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:15 pm

You know how this works.

1] He posts something at KT
2] I ridicule it as an intellectual contraption
3] he reads that and then posts yet another intellectual contraption

As though to mock me. Or, sure, to mock himself.

Here's the latest:

satyr wrote:Nihilism is the memetic shroud that conceals genetics.
It infects all levels of human interaction with an ideological framework that negated, i.e., denies the relevance of biology and inheritance.
Nihilism is a school of thought, a pool of memes, that dismisses genetics either completely or arbitrarily.
It is at the foundation of Abrahamic morality and postmodernism.

Attitudes toward race and gender and homosexuality are by-products of nihilism.
The fact that the majority now regurgitate the lie that race and sex are social constructs is its defensive ideological response to the indifference and brutality of natural selection, and the rejection of traditional methods attempting to reinvent family and sexual relationship to accord with postmodern morality.


Now, again, for those here who speak his "serious philosophy" fluently, what on earth is he telling us here about nihilism in regard to, say, that which he and I discussed when, according to Wendy, he makes his annual "Christmas visit" to ILP.

The subjects being gender roles and sexual preference.

Here are the arguments that I made:

Now, what are we able to establish here in terms of "Objectivity bad...subjectivity good." Insofar as rational arguments might be made in regard to behaviors deemed good/moral and behaviors deemed bad/immoral.

If, in regard to gender roles and sexual preference, something can be established as objectively true for all of us, that is something that those on both sides can agree on.

And then it would come down to our reactions [morally and politically] to that which can be demonstrated to in fact be true for all of us objectively.

And my point here is not that subjectivity is bad, but that for each of us as individuals, our value judgments in regard to gender roles and sexual preference seem to involve a complex intertwining of genes and memes as they interact over time historically and across space culturally...given any number of unique sets of circumstances that each of us as individuals might find ourselves in.

This in a world that is ever evolving in a sea of contingency, chance and change. A world in which we can never be entirely certain from day to day which new experiences or relationship or idea might prompt us to change our minds about gender roles and sexual preferences.


Again, this has already been discussed time and again. Yes, the fundamental biological purpose of fucking is to reproduce the species. And if you look at lions and tigers and bears, not much has changed over hundreds of thousands of years. But: has human sexuality been exactly the same since we were living in caves? Do human females only come into "heat" at certain times of the years so that men can battle each other -- to the death? -- in order to claim the exclusive right to fuck them. And then the part in human sexual relationships that involve complex emotional exchanges, deep friendships and bonding in many, many different ways. Things that gay couples can experience no less so than heterosexual couples.

In other words, is or is not human sexuality infinitely more complex and convoluted?

As I noted on another thread...

...just as a small percentage of the population is born left handed rather than right handed, who is to say that for reasons science has yet to pin down definitively, nature allows for some to be congenitally attracted to those of the same sex. Sexually, emotionally or otherwise.

And if only a relatively small percentage of the population is congenitally attracted to the same sex, how would that stop the larger percentage of heterosexuals from reproducing the species? I'm a father of a daughter myself. And she and the man she lives with have a son.

On the other hand, suppose human sexuality was such that, whenever someone even attempted to have sex with another of the same gender there was not even the possibility of feeling aroused? Nature was adamant about that in such a way that biologically we could only feel sexually aroused by a member of the opposite sex?

Or suppose nature was such that as with other species of animals there were no sexual feelings at all among human beings until the "mating season"? The fact is that sex is extremely pleasurable. And there is nothing inherently "unnatural" about human beings pursuing it for reasons other than precreation.


So, how would he construe my points here as nihilism? And how does he actually go about demonstrating that his own arguments -- being just intellectual contraptions -- are not lies?

How are the points I make not reasonable?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:26 pm

Let's focus in on this point:

satyr wrote:Nihilism alters the environmental dynamics that shift what mutations are advantageous, disadvantageous and neutral...most often they filter out - they socially deselect - mutations that contradict its underlying ideology/dogma...which is anti-nature.


Now, with nature, the mutations have no teleological font. Unless you believe this is God. They just happen biologically given the brute facticity embedded in the evolution of life and existence. And, depending on the context, for, say, lions as predators and zebras as prey, it's good news for one or the other.

But it's not like the lions and the zebras go online and, philosophically, discuss the implications of it.

It's all basically instinct.

But, in regard to gender roles and sexual preference, how exactly does nihilism work/unfold "for all practical purposes" within our own species.

This because unlike with lions and the zebras, the "mutated" behaviors can also revolve around historical, cultural and circumstantial/experiential memes. Human beings [given free will] have the capacity to weigh in on what is thought to be or not to be "biological imperatives".

Thus, for those animals wholly lacking in memes, biological imperatives are everything. Just not so for our own species. With human beings, gender roles and sexual preferences encompass a vast, vast panoply of conflicting options.

Naturally, as it were.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:56 pm

satyr wrote: Nihilism is the mind acting no behalf of the body's impulse to survive.
The brain evolved to multiply the probability of survival, and procreation is a form of overcoming mortality, so it becomes an additional factor in the mind's evaluations.
Nihilism is a defensive reaction to what threatens its survival, and tis well-being. It places survival about all other considerations, above integrity, honesty, clarity etc. It prefers to not see than to see and by seeing perish.


Again, he refuses to actually make this brand new "intellectual contraption" applicable to the subjects that I proposed: gender roles and sexual preferences. Nor does he situate it out in the world of actual flesh and blood human beings interacting in another context where value judgments precipitate behaviors that come to clash precipitating in turn actual consequences that reverberate far beyond merely a world of words precipitating yet another world of words.

He is a "serious philosopher" and that is just not done!

So, all I can do is to ask anyone here who speaks "pedantic intellectual" fluently, to embody his ideas in regard to feminism and homosexuality. What makes them part of the nihilistic "modernism" that is flagrantly opposed to what nature intended.

Given that conflicting assessments of gender roles and sexuality have been around now for thousands of years and the species keeps reproducing new generations just like it always has.

Also, if we can do something -- anything -- and we are a part of nature, how can it be said to be "unnatural". It is as though Nature was this actual entity that existed [like God] and you could go to it and ask if same sex fucking and women running a government was inherently and necessarily Unnatural.

Note to Satyr: You're up at KT. And I double dare you to come down out of the clouds.

satyr wrote: blah blah blah
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:35 pm

Have We Regressed into Nietzsche’s “Moral Nihilism”?
Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage

Nietzsche’s view of morality assigns great intrinsic value to the flourishing of “higher man.” Higher types are solitary and deal with others only instrumentally. Thus, a human being who strives for something great considers everyone he meets along the way as a means to an end, in direct opposition to Kantian ethics. Could this be a good characterization of all the crazies in the U.S. who have shot up schools, places of worship, and in the workplace?


Who really knows if this actually is what Nietzsche meant in regard to morality. Especially when the focus does shift to a particular context. Also, from the perspective of those who do shoot up schools, places of worship or workplaces, their own motivation and intentions might be deemed by them to be anything but the embodiment of crazed behavior. In fact, for some, their behavior can be seen by them to be quite the opposite of nihilism. On the contrary, from their frame of mind their behavior, anchored to one or another "kingdom of ends" is defended as entirely moral.

Nietzsche challenges the idea of a morality as bound up with obligation, with codes and rules. He encourages individuals to think for themselves beyond conventional morality. His brand of ethics has been referred to as moral “nihilism.” Nihilism comes from the Latin nihil, or nothing, which means not anything, that which does not exist. By this view, ethical claims are generally false. A moral nihilist would say that nothing is morally good, bad, wrong or right because there are no moral truths. So, murder is not wrong, but neither is it right.


Well, this moral nihilist would say that, sure, there might be an objective morality accessible to mere mortals. But this particular mere mortal here and now does not believe that there is. But: if other mere mortals [here at ILP for example] do believe that there is then let them note both an argument to encompass it and a demonstration, given a particular context, in which an attempt is made to note how "for all practical purposes" they might be able to convince others that if they wish to be thought of as rational and virtuous human beings they are obligated to concur.

You're up.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby Dan~ » Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:40 am

There are two kinds of nihilism:

1: Neutrality. Super passive. Silent. Desireless.

2: Anti meaning. Deconstructing and debunking virtually everything.
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:33 pm

Dan~ wrote:There are two kinds of nihilism:

1: Neutrality. Super passive. Silent. Desireless.

2: Anti meaning. Deconstructing and debunking virtually everything.


We'll need a context of course.

Or are those things moot when you can encompass nihilism so succinctly in points like yours?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:38 pm

Context is presupposed by text



Or, aesthetically, the foreground retains focus in spite of the background.



No 'practical way to reduct or induct this pretty down to earth, presently significant conclusion. ignorance of this 'law' is not excusable.
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:53 pm

Let's recall that, with respect to nihilism, this exchange between Satyr and myself has come to revolve around his willingness to intertwine the points he raises about it with respect to both gender roles and sexual preference.

Or, sure, a "set of circumstances" all his own.

Instead, he is sticking with his "ponderous and preposterous intellectual contraptions".

So, if you are wondering if you might be a nihilist yourself in regard to these things and you go to him for advise, here is what he will tell you:

satyr wrote:Nihilism is the absolute - no matter how it is named and conceptualized - that is nowhere to be found, except in human minds, and negates man's experience with the multiplicity of existence.

Nihilism is the one, totalitarian, god of Abraham, and the one all-encopassing State of Globalism.
Exclusion is certain slavery and death, because there's nowhere to escape to. It is utter surrender to fate, for the sake of evading personal responsivity.

Nihilism is the noumenon, taken literally; the absolute idea existing only in the mind, represented by words/symbols, externalizing it.


Got that?

Well, okay, if you do, please convey to us how his description here is entirely in sync with the behaviors that you choose in regard to gender interactions and sexual preference. What specifically makes you a Satyrean nihilist here?

satyr wrote:blah blah blah
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:57 pm

Meno_ wrote:Context is presupposed by text



Or, aesthetically, the foreground retains focus in spite of the background.



No 'practical way to reduct or induct this pretty down to earth, presently significant conclusion. ignorance of this 'law' is not excusable.


Once and for all: is this intellectual gibberish of yours just an act you perform here, a "condition", or do you truly imagine that your points are relevant to a discussion of nihilism that needs no contexts at all...other than the "text"?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:04 pm

Have We Regressed into Nietzsche’s “Moral Nihilism”?
Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage

Nietzsche criticizes the concept of universality as objectionable because agents are relatively different so a universal morality must necessarily be harmful to some.


And all one need do is to note the manner in which "agents" construe the world around them from very different historical, cultural and circumstantial perspectives. If there really was a "universal" morality able to be either discovered or invented don't you suppose philosophers, ethicists and political scientists would have announced it to the world by now.

Ah, but they have. Over and over and over and over and over again. Given one or another God, political ideology, deontological philosophical contraption, assessment of nature. Human history is bursting at the seams with universal moralities. Even Nietzsche, the moral nihilist, put his reputation on the line by inventing a No God teleology of sorts that revolved around the Übermensch. And isn't this just another rendition of "right makes might"?

That's the thing about a world that ever and always combines an ineffably complex intertwining of genes and memes in a "human condition" that never stops evolving amidst an avalanche of contingency, chance and change. As with God, if a universal morality didn't exist it would have to be invented.

After all, look at all the renditions of it here!!

He believes that a culture in which moral norms prevail, such as Kantian respect for persons, utilitarianism, and altruistic behavior, will be a culture which eliminates the conditions for the realization of human excellence – the latter requiring concern with the self, struggle, and suffering.


See how it works? Human interactions cannot be allowed to sink down into the "nasty brutish and short" mentality of might makes right. The fittest will survive but only because they deserve to. The masters are the masters not merely because that have the raw power to impose their will on the weak, but because they are inherently superior to the weak. It's not for nothing that folks like Ayn Rand brought elements of Nietzsche's thinking into their own intellectual models.

On paper, Nietzsche can be shaped and molded to fit all manner individual requirements. Again, look at all of the renditions of him here. Some by way of Satyr, others by way of Fixed Jacob and his "intellectual contraption" brood.

So, happiness, according to Nietzsche, is not an intrinsically valuable end because suffering is positively necessary for the cultivation of individual development and a fulfilling life – which is the only thing that warrants admiration for Nietzsche.


Therefore, we can focus in on a particular context and the Übermensch among us can inform us as to what is required of us if we wish to be included among their own own "one of us" clique/claque.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:48 pm

Have We Regressed into Nietzsche’s “Moral Nihilism”?
Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage

Instead of the belief that there are a set of values or course of action for all individuals, as assumed by conventional ethical reasoning, Nietzsche believed in one’s sovereignty – the ability to make our own choices based on our search for meaning.


So, it never occurred to him that individuals come in all shapes and sizes morally? That historical and cultural and experiential factors don't play critical roles when it comes down to how all of us are indoctrinated as children to view, among other things, everything under the sun? That the "search for meaning" is deeply embedded in the profoundly problematic confluence of social, political and economic variables that any particular one of us might be immersed in? Even an understanding of nihilism itself shifts over time as new factors come into play.

He believed that each of us needs to gain understanding, examine our own perspectives, and reflect on our experiences. Skepticism, in the sense of questioning and challenging our existing beliefs and values, according to Nietzsche, is part of a radical reevaluation of our values and transformation of who we are, which is an ongoing process all devoid of ethical concerns.


I can only try to imagine Nietzsche around today reacting to the manner in which I would deconstruct this sort of thinking. Gain an understanding of what particular conflicting good? And from what particular perspective -- liberal, conservative? Though, yes, reflect on our experiences. But what about the experiences of those who live lives very, very different from ours? Which set of experiences [often beyond our full understanding or control] matter most? In a sense, Nietzsche's frame of mind mirrors the attitude of those later existentialists who spoke of living "authentically". And, sure, up in an intellectual clouds where the "serious philosophers" live in a "world of words", an authentic life is always so much more readily encompassed...academically.

But what of the points I raise as a moral nihilist?

Perhaps someone here who is familiar with and a proponent of Nietzsche's own moral nihilism would be willing to discuss that with me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:37 pm

Have We Regressed into Nietzsche’s “Moral Nihilism”?
Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage

Perhaps the best way to sum up objections to Nietzsche’s theory is that he seemed interested in promoting the development of human potential without regard for any specific morality or even type of morality. His subjective and individualistic perspective was that each individual should seek meaning in life for reasons unrelated to any ethical theory. The problem is if each of us pursues our self-interest without regard to norms of behavior then how can we ever go beyond improving our own well-being and improve the well-being of others?


This is the part where things get tricky. The part where "might makes right" and "right makes might" are intertwined into a moral perspective that no one is is really certain about in regard to the part where "me, myself and I" end and everyone else begins.

Unless, as a serious philosopher who really does get Nietzsche, you invent your own intellectual contraption to rip them apart.

In other words, you take your own particular leap to Übermensch status. But this is predicated on "principle". You rise above the herd but only because you deserve to and not just because you can.

Thus we have those like Satyr and what's left of his clique/claque at Know Thyself [and his kowtowers here] basically insisting that Übermensch status revolves entirely around their own authoritarian assessment of race and nature, gender and nature, sexual orientation and nature.

And all else they insist that, genetically, truly rational and virtuous men and women are obligated to pursue. This set of behaviors and not that set. This they then insist revolves around being a "rugged individualist". Ah, but one who is absolutely obligated to think exactly like they do about...everything.

The irony then being completely lost on them.

Whereas, from the perspective of nihilism as "I" understand it, Richard Rorty's "ironism" is smack dab in the middle of my own value judgments:

* She has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered;

*She realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts;

*Insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself.


The antidote? Objectivism of course!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:54 pm

Just to update you...

I continue to follow Satyr's posts on the nihilism thread over at KT.

As you'll recall, I noted that I would only respond to a post of his that actually brings his "general description intellectual contraption" arguments about nihilism down to earth. In regard to gender roles and sexual orientation for example.

Nothing even remotely close so far.

In fact, here is his latest post:

satyr wrote:Would not a god not show his disdain through his creations?
Would not his creations not be a revelation of his self-critique, his self-cosnciousness exposed through his art?

Only in this case the creator creates a proxy to stand in and confuse himself.
What if man's greatest scapegoat was in the guise of a creator that had crafted him as a scapegoat?
Double fake.


So, if anyone here can reconfigure what you believe his point is here into an account of nihilism that is applicable to the life that you live and the behaviors that you choose giving a particular context please, by all means, do so.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Feb 09, 2021 6:05 pm

Philosophy in a Meaningless Life: A System of Nihilism, Consciousness and Reality
James Tartaglia
Reviewed byGuy Bennett-Hunter, University of Edinburgh
From the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews webpage

There are many philosophical arguments for the conclusion that life has meaning. Therefore, to argue for nihilism (the claim that, not only life but the whole of reality is meaningless) is to claim that every argument for meaning in life contains some error.


This sort of argument seems to be on par with a discussion of whether this sort of argument is only as it ever could have been given a wholly determined universe. In other words, to finally pin down the definitive argument that establishes once and for all if life has a meaning, the meaning seems beyond our reach.

Whatever that means.

Right?

So, given human autonomy, meaning in what sense? We go about the reality of existing from day to day to day in which there are countless things, countless interactions, that we are able to establish as in fact true. We are able to completely agree about what this or that means. What it means to wake up in the morning, to eat breakfast, to go to work or school, to come home, to have dinner, to do any number of things that we all are able to communicate rationally about back and forth without the slightest contention.

Meaning that appears to be be objectively the same for all of us.

Where it all starts to break down however is when we agree about what we are doing but disagree about whether we ought to be doing one thing and not another. We all agree that John is eating bacon for breakfast. We don't all agree that this is immoral because it is wrong for human beings to consume other animals.

We know what it means to have conflicts of this sort. But we don't all agree on what it must mean to rationally resolve them.

This ambitious undertaking is apparently central to James Tartaglia's book: as he bluntly puts it, 'nihilism is just a fact.' I have in print endorsed one of the arguments for life's meaning which Tartaglia explicitly opposes. But, while I disagree with this apparently central claim, I am sympathetic to another view for which this book makes an intriguing case: that 'tending the space of transcendence' is one of philosophy's central tasks.


If life and reality itself are essentially meaningless then how meaningful can it be to assert that "nihilism is just a fact"? Instead, as with me, it seems more reasonable to suggest that mere mortals, having no way of grasping whether life/reality has any necessary meaning/ontology or purpose/teleology going back to an explanation for existence itself, some think themselves into believing one thing, others another thing. With none able to actually demonstrate that either their assumptions or their conclusions are the whole truth.

Unless, of course, I am not thinking this through in the most rational manner.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby Dan~ » Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:45 am

Where it all starts to break down however is when we agree about what we are doing but disagree about whether we ought to be doing one thing and not another. We all agree that John is eating bacon for breakfast. We don't all agree that this is immoral because it is wrong for human beings to consume other animals.

"It all starts to break down"

Nope.
It doesn't break down.

The truth isn't monodimensional.
Conflicting ideas are not all of a sudden unreal or impossible,
when they go about disagreeing with each other.
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:00 pm

Dan~ wrote:
Where it all starts to break down however is when we agree about what we are doing but disagree about whether we ought to be doing one thing and not another. We all agree that John is eating bacon for breakfast. We don't all agree that this is immoral because it is wrong for human beings to consume other animals.

"It all starts to break down"

Nope.
It doesn't break down.

The truth isn't monodimensional.
Conflicting ideas are not all of a sudden unreal or impossible,
when they go about disagreeing with each other.


Communication breakdowns don't occur all the time between those who crave bacon and those who passionately embrace animal rights?

Maybe not around where you live?

What do you call that then?

How is the point I make above not reasonable? And how is the point you make above even relevant to the point that I make in regard to animal rights conflagrations that pop up on the news from time to time.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:06 pm

Philosophy in a Meaningless Life: A System of Nihilism, Consciousness and Reality
James Tartaglia
Reviewed byGuy Bennett-Hunter, University of Edinburgh
From the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews webpage

Tartaglia argues that, to conclude that life has meaning, we would have to produce not only a causal explanation of how humans came to exist, but an explanation that also warrants the attribution of a purpose to human life -- a teleological explanation of what we are here for. The requisite explanation would, in these two senses (causal and teleological), 'tell us why we exist' and thus explain the meaning of life


This is the point I often come back to...the point that many [the objectivists in particular] just seem to shrug off as of seeming little importance at all. When of course in grappling with anything in the vicinity of teleology, it is by far the most important consideration of all. Until someone has a grasp on why something rather than nothing exist, and why this something and not another something, it's like them reading one verse from one chapter of the Bible and attempting explain the meaning and the purpose of Christianity.

Instead, at best, one can start with attempting to understand the meaning and the purpose of one's own life. While, at the same time, noting that in some respects, it seems to overlap with the lives of others. Then sharing experiences with them...attempting to come up with those things that seem to be true for all people. In other words, an existential meaning and an existential purpose.

Since he believes that there is no such convincing explanation, Tartaglia's conclusion is that life is meaningless.


In other words, seeming to lack in any essential meaning and purpose such that when we compare and contrast the particular things that we think, feel, say and do, there does not appear to be a "transcending font" we can turn to in order to sort out differences and conflicts.

Still...

However, he reassures us that our inability to make sense of reality, and therefore life, as a whole does not prevent us from making sense of things within that reality: we can explain and make sense of things within a certain limited context. But the groundlessness of this context entails 'that our reasons are ultimately groundless: they are reasons given within an existence that is itself lacking in reason'; in short, 'things make sense so long as we do not push too far'


Here, however, I am quick to point out that evoking a "groundless" existence is just another manifestation of dasein. I have no way in which to demonstrate that there is neither a God nor a Humanist font from which to derive an essential meaning and purpose. And that, in fact, in the world as I know it, there are far, far, far more people able to think themselves into believing that there is one than there are folks like me who "here and now" cannot.

And that's before we get to those who are able to just shrug all of that aside, and immerse themselves in any number of experiences/interactions that provide them with fulfilment and satisfaction. All of the meaning and purpose that they need as it were.

The difficulty here tends to revolve around the part when, in the pursuit of your own pleasures, it becomes an obstacle or an obstruction for those who wish to pursue things that precipitate conflicts. Or when these pursuits revolve around moral and political value judgments that come to clash.

Then this: which existential "meaning and purpose" will prevail?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:40 pm

Philosophy in a Meaningless Life: A System of Nihilism, Consciousness and Reality
James Tartaglia
Reviewed byGuy Bennett-Hunter, University of Edinburgh
From the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews webpage

Chapter 2 provides a survey of 'misguided' strategies for coping with nihilism, including the idea of a transcendent context of meaning...humanism, and relativism. While not a comprehensive survey, this chapter clearly articulates what Tartaglia thinks is wrong with many of the existing attempts to argue that life has meaning. He compares life to a game of chess and the idea that life has meaning to the possibility of achieving checkmate, which may motivate a person's moves in the game. However, the nihilist believes that 'checkmate is an illusion'.


Here's the thing though...

If you treat your life itself as you do a game of chess, you merely have to think yourself into believing something about your life that is the equivalent of how you think about a checkmate in chess. Ontologically and teleologically the rules of chess and the aim in following them is to arrive at checkmate. So, if you believe that there does exist a God, the God or, instead, a No God Humanistic equivalent, then revolving your life around accomplishing that which you deem to be an obligation on your part in living your life becomes all that is really necessary.

That's the beauty of things like this: the belief in and of itself is all that is necessary to make it true. You either do or you do not checkmate your opponent. You either do or do not live your life in sync with God or in sync with one or another political ideology or deontological/philosophical scaffolding.

So we are counselled instead to refocus our attention on the moves themselves, which we may previously have thought of as merely intermediate goals. Having discovered that they are, in fact, 'the only real goals', we must value them 'for their own sake'. Against the charge that nihilism would encourage us to take life less seriously, Tartaglia asserts that 'there is nothing outside of life for us to take more seriously' than that meaningless life itself.


Moves have meaning in chess only because they bring you closer to the ultimate meaning of the game. Same with the behaviors that you choose given what you have thought yourself into believing the meaning of life is.

Once you conclude however that there is no essential meaning you can wrap your own particular behaviors around, you are still faced with interacting with others in order to sustain access to the things that you need to subsist and the things that you want that will make your life more fulfilling.

That doesn't change. This existential meaning doesn't go away just because you are unable to link it to something that ties everything together.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:25 pm

Philosophy in a Meaningless Life: A System of Nihilism, Consciousness and Reality
James Tartaglia
Reviewed byGuy Bennett-Hunter, University of Edinburgh
From the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews webpage

Chapter 3 defends the role of philosophical questioning (about the meaning of life and about how we ought to live) in opening up 'the space of transcendence'. Given the foregoing argument for nihilism, Tartaglia reassures the reader that nihilism is compatible with the idea of transcendence: it 'simply holds that there is no transcendent context of meaning.' (77).


Clearly, if an examination of nihilism focuses solely on the "role of philosophical questioning" then the answers themselves can be solely abstract. Paragraph after paragraph after paragraph in exchange after exchange after exchange can be devoted to examining the meaning of "transcendence" without once connecting the conclusions reached to the existential meaning that we grapple with in our day to day interactions. In particular, those that precipitate actual conflicting behaviors that precipitate actual consequences. My "thing" here.

How would the conclusion that "nihilism is compatible with the idea of transcendence" be relevant here?

Chapter 4 persuasively defends transcendence on the basis that 'consciousness seems to transcend the world of objective thought', raising 'the prospect that reality transcends the physical universe'.


Okay, what "on Earth" does that mean? Existentially, for example. Being conscious of what actual phenomenal interactions? Transcending objective thought in what sense substantively? In a physical universe that we have only just scarcely begun to understand.

Chapter 5, 'the key to this book', sets out 'the transcendent hypothesis' in further detail, again with specific reference to consciousness. It suggests that the phenomenon of consciousness 'must be identified with something within a wider context of existence than the world it presents'; this gives us reason to accept the hypothesis 'that the objective, physical world is transcended'. Here, Tartaglia's suggestion resembles those of existential phenomenologists like the early Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who conclude that human consciousness (even when we concede that it is inescapably embodied), cannot be understood as a purely objective, physical object or process within the world, since it is that by which there is a meaningful world of objects for us at all.


Admittedly, I am never quite certain as to what on Earth -- the planet I call home and interact with others on -- this is actually supposed to mean. For all practical purposes, say. Again, it's the sort of thing that "serious" philosophers ever seem intent on focusing in on first before they get to that part. If, of course, they ever do, right?

There are things that we can be conscious of that transcend other things. And there may or may not be any number of "things" up there or out there that transcend any particular things that mere mortals down here on planet Earth may think or feel or say or do. For example, given the lives that they actually live from day to day.

But: That is the part I wish to focus in on in regard to what I/"I" think nihilism means.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:41 pm

Philosophy in a Meaningless Life: A System of Nihilism, Consciousness and Reality
James Tartaglia
Reviewed byGuy Bennett-Hunter, University of Edinburgh
From the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews webpage

Tartaglia's argument for nihilism turns on the idea that a successful explanation of life's meaning would have to be both causal and teleological.


And what could this possibly be other than either God or mere mortals here on planet Earth -- or intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe -- in possession of free will and able to grapple with and grasp an understanding of existence itself?

Now, with God, it would seem likely that there is a teleological purpose "behind" existence. While for mere mortals in a No God universe, there may or there may not be.

But why do we need to know anything about human origins or believe that human life exists for some purpose in order to suppose that life has meaning? As Leszek Kołakowski points out, it is not even necessary for meaning-conferring explanations to be true, as in the case with genealogical myths or myths of human origins, which combine 'truth' and 'poetry' in varying proportions, perhaps to the degree where the myth is wholly 'false' in purely factual terms.


Most tend to forget that part. Or they forget that in regard to the meaning we attach to human interactions we are most likely to pass judgment on, all that is necessary is to believe that your own meaning need be as far as it goes. Then, for those like me, the suggestion that even if you are willing to expose your own meaning to the criticisms of others, there does not appear to be a way in which to substantiate the most rational meaning.

On the other hand...

But the question of factual truth seems irrelevant to the function of such mythological explanations, which is not merely to provide 'interesting information about a community's genealogy' but also to provide a 'principle of legitimacy' that gives 'meaning to the community's continuing existence -- a meaning defined and situated, so to speak, at the source of being'.


...this frame of mind evades my own argument about the nature of objective facts able to be accumulated in regard to interactions in the either/or world. There is no way that a community could function coherently if there was not objective meaning able to be assigned to all of the interactions necessary to subsist...to sustain a community from day to day. It's just that, as distinct from a community of ants, meaning for our species becomes entangled in a vast assortment of "memes" as well.

For example, for some, meaning abounds in their reaction to such things as "March Madness" here in America. While for others it is utterly meaningless.

Go figure, right?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:01 pm

Philosophy in a Meaningless Life: A System of Nihilism, Consciousness and Reality
James Tartaglia
Reviewed byGuy Bennett-Hunter, University of Edinburgh
From the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews webpage

As I mentioned at the outset, a successful argument for nihilism would imply that all arguments for meaning in life are erroneous.


Here, again, I make the distinction "for all practical purposes" between seeming essential meaning able to be successfully communicated regarding things and interactions in the either/or world, and seeming existential meaning only able to be more or less successfully communicated given the arguments I make in my signature threads here. In regard to moral and political value judgments in the is/ought world.

I have already observed that Tartaglia fails explicitly to refute Cooper's argument for this conclusion but, in my view, he fails to do so implicitly as well. Cooper argues that nihilism would undermine what Tartaglia calls the 'social meaning' of our practices and, in the end, would be unendurable, because 'An activity whose point is to contribute to something that itself turns out to be pointless retrospectively inherits this pointlessness.'


On the other hand, in regard to those things that need to be accomplished -- by individuals, by society -- in order to merely subsist, does it really matter if something in the way of an essential meaning is found. Providing food, water, clothing, shelter, defense and an environment able to sustain the reproduction of any particular community is simply a given. And in these interactions there are any number of contexts in which we find pleasures and fulfillments and satisfactions. This in and of itself is meaningful enough.

Or "intellectually":

We could not actually bear to continue living our lives if experience really were structured in this way. The fact that most of us do bear it suggests that it is not usually so structured. The unavailability of checkmate would undermine the meaning of the moves in the game of chess, which have no inherent meaning for which they might be valued 'for their own sake'. Their meaning just consists in their contribution to the possibility of checkmate. Therefore, given that the game continues, there is a logical as well as a psychological need to suppose that life has meaning and nihilism is false.


Point taken?

And then "for all practical purposes":

Tartaglia's implicit response to this line of reasoning is that we simply refrain from pushing too far with our questioning regarding meaning. In order to live a normal life, the most that we need is the presupposition 'that our goals are worthwhile while we are engaged with them'. 'Nihilism tells us that life has no overall goal, but we can still act as if it did'. 'Of course we do not need to take up the theoretical question of what -- if anything -- makes our goals worthwhile in order to presuppose them; we do this effortlessly as soon as we stop thinking about it' .


But then for the objectivists here, that just won't do. They insist that, on the contrary, if you think about human interactions in exactly the same way that they do, you have no recourse but to grasp that, in fact, there is an essential, overarching meaning that fully explains, incredible as it might seem, everything.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:02 pm

In defense of Nihilism in the modern day
Ayush

I have noticed in my travels around the internet and on the news, that nihilism, is almost entirely and often vulgarly misinterpreted. This is my attempt at reducing Nihilism to its most central ideas to help anyone who reads this understand how freeing and positive it can be.


On the other hand, reconfiguring nihilism into Nihilism seems to suggest that if you think about it long enough you can capture the very essence of it's meaning. The Nihilism. The Nihilism intertwined in Being itself.

Like, for example, was once done with Dasein.

Admittedly, the author here does note this:

"Disclaimer: My writings state my opinion. Feel free to disagree.

But, from my frame of mind, he/she is not off to a good start.

It is a grave situation, the time that we live in, religion and tradition dictate minds and the free man is an outsider to the world. Our society demands of us a form of submission, shrouded by what we call “values”, “morals”, “virtue” and lastly “goodness”. Most of us blindly follow the false path that society lays down for us, being consciously unaware of it almost all our lives. Nihilism is an attempt to free us of the chains we are born with in this day and age.


Of course my own nihilism starts with the assumption that 1] the human species embodies free will and 2] that the human condition is embedded in the gap between what any particular one of us have come to believe about it and all that can be/must be known about it going all the way back to an understanding of existence itself.

This and the assumption that the "free man" or the "free woman" is largely an existential contraption rooted inter-subjectively in dasein.

Okay, you see through "society" and you set out to live more "authentically". As a Nihilist. But then you bump into other Nihilists hell bent on doing the same. Only their own moral and political value judgments come into conflict with yours. So, how do all of these true Nihilists resolve those conflicts?

Or does this true Nihilist insist that in order to be free authentically all of the other Nihilists must think and behave as he or she does?

If you get my drift.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:46 pm

In defense of Nihilism in the modern day
Ayush

It dates back to the dawn of the 19th century, when Heinrich Jacobi, a German philosopher, critiqued other philosophers like Kant, Spinoza and Fichte. He opposed their philosophies and promoted what he called “ Glaube” which roughly translates to faith, and revelation and rejected speculative reasoning. He believed that all reasoning would ultimately lead to the conclusion that there is no meaning to life, or the universe and he called this view Nihilism.


Ironically enough, that is one way to go about it. You set out as a philosopher to find meaning in life and, eventually, in reading all of the other philosophers attempts to do so, you conclude that ultimately, essentially, ontologically, teleologically, etc., there just isn't any. Or not the meaning of life. That was basically my own path. Meaning embodied in both the God and the No God world collapsing under the weight of actual existential reality. If only in the is/ought world that encompasses moral and political value judgments.

The idea was repelling to him, as he believed that all human activity and knowledge is founded on faith.


Reason? Nope.

But then faith?

Yep for some, nope for others.

However, the term Nihilism was popularized by Ivan Turgenev, in his book titled Fathers and Sons. It’s lead character, Bazarov, was a nihilist. When one of the characters asks what a nihilist is, the reply is the following.

"A nihilist is a person who does not bow down to any authority, who does not accept any principle on faith, however much that principle may be revered."

That, is a moderately accurate definition of what I consider a nihilist would be.


Yes, that works for me as well. In particular in regard to those who insist that they are the authority on which particular behaviors allow you to become "one of us" and not "one of them".

They are still everywhere here. Though, given my own contributions over the years, not nearly as many as there used to be. At least not the ones I respected as philosophers. Now they are mostly Kids and the fulminating fanatic rot. Minds that, in my view, only a fool would respect.

Unless of course I'm wrong.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby Dan~ » Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:41 pm

There is destruction of meaning.
Then there is neutrality towards meaning.
Neutrality is different than anti.
I think a good nihilist will be as neutral as possible about everything.
Doing this will conserve so much mental energy that it will
change the character of the nothingist, on nearly every level.
It would be an experiment to apply nothingness to ourselves and all our mandatory meanings.
We would still eat, drink and go poo, but neutrality leads to idleness.
Idleness leads to refocus of the energy and self.
It centers a person and balances their energy.
I like http://www.accuradio.com , internet radio.
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