Nihilism Quiz: test yourself and find out How Much Do You Know About 19th Century Philosophy!
Nihilism is a philosophy developed in the 19th century and holds that life has no intrinsic meaning and that there is no objective purpose or value. The word "nihilism" is derived from the Latin word "nihil," meaning "nothingness": this philosophical current denies the existence of any objective value or truth, and according to this view, life turns out to be devoid of meaning, purpose, there is no strong truth to be sought, there are no goals, certainties and objective values to be achieved. This meaningless life, according to Nihilist theories, has art, knowledge and religion as forms of entertainment or consolation.
In this perspective, all values and truths are seen as constructed by society or culture, and not as objective truths, meaning that there is no universal morality and that moral beliefs are relative to a specific society or culture.
The word was first used in 1799 by the philosopher Jacobi but then characterized the theorizing of several intellectuals, among whom we find Foscolo, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Schopenhauer, and some 20th century existentialists such as Heidegger and Sartre.
Nihilism has had a significant influence on many philosophical and artistic currents, particularly literature, poetry and art. Many writers and poets have explored nihilist themes in their works, emphasizing the futility of life and the absence of purpose or intrinsic meaning.
However, Nihilism has also been criticized for its denial of fundamental values and purposes in life. Some philosophers and thinkers argue that the denial of objective values and meanings can lead to a meaningless society and can be dangerous to the survival of the human species.