Moral nihilism, also known as ethical nihilism, is the meta-ethical view that morality does not exist as something inherent to objective reality; therefore no action is necessarily preferable to any other. For example, a moral nihilist would say that killing someone, for whatever reason, is not inherently right or wrong. Other nihilists may argue not that there is no morality at all, but that if it does exist, it is a human and thus artificial construction, wherein any and all meaning is relative for different possible outcomes. As an example, if someone kills someone else, such a nihilist might argue that killing is not inherently a bad thing, bad independently from our moral beliefs, only that because of the way morality is constructed as some rudimentary dichotomy, what is said to be a bad thing is given a higher negative weighting than what is called good: as a result, killing the individual was bad because it did not let the individual live, which was arbitrarily given a positive weighting. In this way a moral nihilist believes that all moral claims are false.
Existential nihilism is the belief that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. With respect to the universe, existential nihilism posits that a single human or even the entire human species is insignificant, without purpose and unlikely to change in the totality of existence. The meaninglessness of life is largely explored in the philosophical school of existentialism.
Nihilism of an epistemological form can be seen as an extreme form of skepticism in which all knowledge is denied.
Metaphysical nihilism is the philosophical theory that there might be no objects at all, i.e. that there is a possible world in which there are no objects at all; or at least that there might be no concrete objects at all, so even if every possible world contains some objects, there is at least one that contains only abstract objects.
An extreme form of metaphysical nihilism is commonly defined as the belief that existence itself does not exist. One way of interpreting such a statement would be: It is impossible to distinguish 'existence' from 'non-existence' as there are no objective qualities, and thus a reality, that one state could possess in order to discern between the two. If one cannot discern existence from its negation, then the concept of existence has no meaning; or in other words, does not 'exist' in any meaningful way. 'Meaning' in this sense is used to argue that as existence has no higher state of reality, which is arguably its necessary and defining quality, existence itself means nothing. It could be argued that this belief, once combined with epistemological nihilism, leaves one with an all-encompassing nihilism in which nothing can be said to be real or true as such values do not exist. A similar position can be found in solipsism; however, in this viewpoint the solipsist affirms whereas the nihilist would deny the self. Both these positions are forms of anti-realism.
Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism) is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist (not only objects in space, but also objects existing in time do not have any temporal parts), and only basic building blocks without parts exist, and thus the world we see and experience full of objects with parts is a product of human misperception (i.e., if we could see clearly, we would not perceive compositive objects).
Political nihilism, a branch of nihilism, follows the characteristic nihilist's rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven assertions. In this case the necessity of the most fundamental social and political structures, such as government, family, law and law enforcement. The Nihilist movement in 19th century Russia espoused a similar doctrine. Political nihilism is rather different from other forms of nihilism, and is actually more like a form of Utilitarianism.
Radical nihilism is the belief that there, in the last instance, is not given a foundation for knowledge, ethics nor justice, and not even this lack of foundation can serve as a starting point for (or rejection of) knowledge, ethics or justice. Radical nihilism turns in the light of the missing universal, objective, and ahistorical certainties, towards the historically and culturally transmitted possibilities of cognition and moral/political action, well aware that the true and the good are in the last instants based on faith.
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