Nihilistic intellectualization and understanding

This page is unfinished. It may be a mere placeholder in the book outline. Or, the text below (if any) may be a summary, or a discussion of what the page will say, or a partial or rough draft.

This page will explain ways we use spurious pseudo-rational arguments to justify nihilism by explaining away meaningfulness. It will expand on a section in “Wavering nihilism: emotional dynamics”; you can read the summary there.

The following quote from a Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article is a somewhat extreme case. It illustrates the general theme nicely, although I am sure you would never think anything so silly!

In the past 10 years, some interesting new defences of nihilism have arisen that merit careful consideration. According to one rationale, for our lives to matter, we must in a position to add value to the world, which we are not since the value of the world is already infinite (Smith 2003). The key premises for this view are that every bit of space-time (or at least the stars in the physical universe) have some positive value, that these values can be added up, and that space is infinite. If the physical world at present contains an infinite degree of value, nothing we do can make a difference in terms of meaning, for infinity plus any amount of value must be infinity.