Nihilist's Paradox

If a nihilist were to stand at a crossroads, would not the nihilist judge all the roads before him as the same in worth? Otherwise he’d be judging one option as better or worse than another, which would be anti-nihilism, the conviction that some choices are of more worth than others. And if the nihilist would judge all the options before him as the same, would not the nihilist be unable to make a choice? Clearly the nihilist would not be able to choose one path over the other, since they would appear the same to him. But would not the nihilist have to choose, since even his standing at the crossroads without walking down any of the paths is a choice in itself? Does not merely his being imply his continuous and necessary choosing? If so then it is clear that a nihilist, if he were to exist, would not be able to choose, while also having to choose. Which is of course a contradiction, an impossibility. Therefore, since a nihilist existing would entail that impossibility, it must be the case that it is impossible for a nihilist to exist, as I’ve defined nihilism here. And if it is impossible for a nihilist to exist as I’ve defined it, then if nihilism is the truth then it must not be possible for anyone to know that truth in order to avoid the paradox mentioned. Otherwise if nihilism is not the truth, then anti-nihilism is the truth and I know of no reason to say that anti-nihilism, if true, could not be known for knowing it would allow us to do what we have to do. Choose!

The only nihilism I’ve ever been interested in is the kind that denies objective worth, meaning, and morality, and in turn elevates individual choice as it emphasizes the fully personal/interpersonal nature of worth, meaning, and morality.

:chores-chopwood:

Then that is surely the nihilism I speak of, for if one is to deny the existence of worth would they not also be denying the existence of objective worth? When is to believe something is the case not to believe it to be absolutely/ objectively so? And if one denies the existence of worth, would they not also be denying the existence of purpose and a need for morality? After all, what purpose or morality can exist in the soul of someone who doesn’t recognize worth/value in anything either positive or negative?

The nihilism I speak of is the belief that everything of positive worth has an equal and opposite catch attached, thus making it really nothing. And everything of negative worth has an equal and opposite reward attached, thus making it nothing. It sees no indulgence worth indulging, and no starvation worth ridding. It only sees nothingness in everything. I don’t believe there is anyone who is truly such a nihilist. We all believe that good things are truly good and will not make us suffer later on. Like winning a war for example. And that bad things are truly bad and won’t turn out to reward us later on. Like getting fired. It is this anti-nihilism within us that drives us. :auto-swerve:

I could be wrong about the paradox I’ve described in my OP. In other words perhaps it is possible to not have to choose, thus allowing for the existence of a value nihilist/neutralist, of course such a person would not will however. If anyone has thoughts on that, ie whether it is possible for one to not choose, I hope you’ll post your thoughts.

Is anti-nihilism the truth? That depends on which of the three following possibilities is the truth. Two of the following possibilities entail nihilism being true, and one of them entails anti-nihilism. I might lose you the reader in some ways with this though but this is the best way I can communicating the three.

Possibility 1: All indulgence in the pleasures of life by person x leads to their eventual starvation of equal degree in their current life or afterlife. All starvation of person x leads to their eventual indulgence in the pleasures of life in equal degree in their current life or afterlife. Whereas both person x’s indulgence and starvation experienced will permanently re-occur into person x’s consciousness (that can be equated with the consciousness of god who lives all lives of non-p-zombies) and is therefore real. Replace person x with any being. If this is the case then value nihilism is the truth. I can imagine this possibility being the truth if there are no philosophical zombies in existence, thus rendering every individual being every individual’s future self, thus making all pursuits in life full of catches attached. To ruthlessly win a war is to painfully lose a war later on kind of thing. From the reality that life pursuits inescapably involve the oppression of other wills, other people in often extremely f’d up ways. :teasing-nutkick: :angry-argument: :violence-rambo: :violence-hammer: :obscene-hanged:

Possibility 2: There is no indulgence in the pleasures of life by person x nor starvation by person x that is not just a transient mirage never to occur again in person x’s consciousness (that can be equated with the consciousness of god who lives all lives of non-p-zombies). There is no indulgence by person x nor starvation of person x that is permanently resurrected in person x’s consciousness (that can be equated with the consciousness of god who lives all lives of non-p-zombies) and therefore truly exists. :violence-bomb: Replace person x with any being. If this is the case, then value nihilism is the truth.

Possibility 3: All indulgence in the pleasures of life by person x does not lead to their eventual starvation of equal degree in their current life or afterlife. All starvation of person x does not lead to their eventual indulgence in the pleasures of life in equal degree in their current life or afterlife. Whereas both person x’s indulgence and starvation experienced will be a permanent entity in its permanent re-occurrence into person x’s consciousness (that can be equated with the consciousness of god who lives all lives of non-p-zombies) and is therefore real. Replace person x with any being. If this is the case, then anti-nihilism is the truth, and one can be justified in pursuing things in life, or ridding of things, for good things are truly good, and bad things are truly bad. Things don’t come with a catch attached, or any that are significant enough to warrant nihilism, and are also real in their permanence and therefore important. I can see this last possibility being the case if either there are no philosophical zombies thus making everyone everyone’s future self whereas it still remains worth it to pursue things in life as the oppression it causes is inevitably in the hearts of lesser beings and therefore of lesser magnitude compared to the indulgence one is enjoying and of no true concern. It’s worth it to step on ants during one’s stroll even if they are your future selves sort of thing. I can also see this last possibility being the case if there are only some individuals that are not philosophical zombies whereas they are not individuals who are oppressed by one another’s pursuits, thus allowing their pursuits to be catch-less and worth pursuing. :character-luigi: :character-yoshi:

To summarize the three they go as follows:
Every indulgence and starvation has an equal and opposite catch, and all are real in their permanent re-occurrence. Therefore nihilism is true. :auto-crash:
No indulgence nor starvation along with their catch’s that may or may not exist are real, as they all disappear forever. Therefore nihilism is true. :violence-bomb:
No indulgence nor starvation possesses an equal and opposite catch, and all are real in their permanent re-occurrence. Therefore anti-nihilism is true. :happy-sunny: :character-beavisbutthead:

Would not a conviction that there is nothing of real positive or negative worth, also be a denial of objective positive or negative worth? I see no difference in the two. Furthermore the nihilism I speak of, in being a denial all positive or negative value, also denies meaning/purpose as there cannot exist meaning without anything of real positive value that one can serve. And the nihilism I speak of denies any moral truths as something cannot be called moral or amoral without things of positive or negative value that can happen to people. Therefore I conclude that your nihilism is the nihilism I speak of.

Hello backspace_losophy, and welcome!

You’re not really arguing against a form of nihilism that anyone subscribes to. Denying objectivity value is not denying the existence of any value, and no-one really and consistently argues for the latter. Even nihilists fancy a beer from time to time. There are those who argue that all value judgements are subjective, and “as good as each other” insofar as there is no external authority to appeal to. The nihilist at the crossroads might head east, but feel no compulsion to argue that others shouldn’t head north, south or west - even if they themselves find they have good reasons for not doing so. Because those reasons are theirs alone. Not choosing is also a choice.

So as you define a nihilist, it’s probable that such a person couldn’t exist. That doesn’t mean that nihilists don’t exist, or that nihilism isn’t real. It’s just that your definition’s not the one that other people use when they’re talking about nihilism.

Like, say, Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence?
If I don’t disagree with this, and I have nihilistic beliefs, then we’d better look at how our nihilisms differ.

Worth is a perfectly good concept and I value many, many things. Would it be possible to deny objective worth while still believing such things as friendship, learning, food, and money have worth because they are worth something to me?

Must worth, meaning, morality either be objective or not exist? I feel pretty confident that what’s real and what’s objective do not perfectly coincide. Everything that’s objectively true is real, but not all reality is objectively true.

And what is “truly good” or “truly bad” ? What makes them true?
I believe these are essentially subjective judgements that are made for a purpose – a purpose that may become more refined at the will of a person. What is good and what is bad are emergent and not immanent.

nice graphic :slight_smile:

Let me just explain a few aspects of our reality that are not objective.
The colors I see and my visual perspective are never objective facts about things themselves. The experience of color depends on light intensity and wavelength, and on my functioning eyes which can receive reflected light. In a pitch black room, everything looks black. In a very bright room, a dark brown table looks lighter. From one angle, I see just part of the table. I can never see the opposite side and the side closest to me at the same time. We assume the far side still exists, in much the same way experience nails down a sense of “object-permanence” in us. Is our perspective of the table false then? Is it not real, since we have to imagine the rest of the table from other viewpoints?

Not just the light and our functioning eyes, but most importantly our brain’s processing of them.

But: in pitch darkness, everything does look black. Is that not objective? If someone sees things getting darker as light intensity increases, might we not diagnose a fault in their vision?

Does complete darkness ‘look’ some way? I Think we would need a definition of objective. Even the having a vantage at a particular Point in time seems subjective to me. I can see deciding that it is something like homo sapian universal, but objective seems to imply something more.

What about our ‘things look black’ quale is objective?

But “Everything looks black” is a different statement than “everything is black.” Because of the nature of vision requiring an agent who can see, I would say seeing blackness and the very idea of pitch darkness can only come about because of a necessary subjective component. I find it odd to say that “everything looks black” in the dark is an objective fact because objectivity implies a standard of truth beyond individual sensation or experience.

Yeah I think that’s fine, but I don’t think it’s an objective fact like the speed of light, 3x10^8 m/s, a mathematical constant. I wouldn’t want to have vision like that and I think it would cause problems for me in society, so it’s not conducive to the lifestyle I expect and anticipate, but I don’t know how anyone could justify that it’s an objective fault in vision. You can’t take an unbiased perspective on what is or isn’t a fault, because any judgement of fault in vision implies a proper purpose or order in biology.

Exactly. I would call experiences/feeling/ideas nearly all of us share as a species (or that all of any group shares) intersubjective. I think objectivity aims to mean more than sharing the same biological/social bias.

Hello thanks

Agreed

To view all values as being “as good as each other” would be to consider all choices by oneself or others as equal in worth, and therefore subscribe to the nihilism I’ve described, so I don’t agree with this statement. There can however exist a recognition that value judgments are often specific to the individual, ie subjective, which they are much of the time, but there is never a judging of such values regardless of their subjectivity to be equal in validity.

For him to head east means that he considered east a wiser choice yes? Which would make him an anti-nihilist. Tell me, what motivates a perfectly balanced object to fall in one direction over another?

Agreed, however I think it’s impossible.

Agreed. Tell me more of this other definition for nihilism though if you wish. I want to get a better sense of it.

Yes just like that. Is that not the only way anything transient and brief can gain the status of “Real”? Through their permanent resurrection? Is not the real, the everlasting?

I believe truth is synonymous with the eternal fate of the soul of god, which can also be called consciousness itself. The eternal fate of consciousness. Which can also be called the real. And the important.

What is truly good can only be what affects this truth, this permanent destiny in a positive way. What is bad does just the opposite.

If there is no permanent fate awaiting consciousness, then there is no truth. Only a constant “newness.”

Since, as I’ve argued, there will never be a conviction otherwise, but only perhaps a speculation, as to avoid the paradox of having to choose but not being able to, I think it is then safe to say that anti-nihilism is therefore the truth. There are actions that are truly, absolutely, better than others, and worse than others. Actions that affect the real, being the everlasting fate of our shared soul, consciousness itself, better than others, and worse than others.

I don’t know, why can’t a thing be transient and real?

What is consciousness itself?

No, like all good nihilists, he does what everyone else does, he chooses for himself, not on a phoney objective basis like the rest of the world pretends to do.
The nihilist is honest, and sees objectivity for what is it; a collective opinion of social norms formulated to control and organise the social whole.

Is that an objective truth, or just your opinion?

Isn’t that very solipsistic? Would there be no reality if there were no consciousness?

Objectivity is more than assessing reality from a merely human standpoint.

Consciousness is only a means to a stabler, more enduring integrity or the integralness of an entity; it did not evolve as an ends in itself.

Lev, you seem to be describing a realist to me.

Perhaps if he really were a nihilist, he wouldn’t see “all the roads” before him. That might tend to describe a perspectivist. The nihilist, by nature of his negativism, would see only one or absolutely nothing which wouldn’t work for him and hed’ turn around and go back from whence he came…still judging “nothingness”. :laughing: