Existentialism and Nihilism are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. While Nihilism is the belief in the lack of inherent meaning and purpose in life, Existentialism is a philosophy that focuses on individual freedom and choice.
However, there are some similarities between these two philosophies, which can cause confusion about their differences. In this article, we will explore whether Existentialism is a Nihilist or not.
What is Nihilism?
Nihilism is a philosophy that asserts that life has no inherent meaning or value. According to Nihilists, there is no objective basis for morality or truth. They believe that all values are subjective and relative to individual perspectives.
The Types of Nihilism
There are different types of Nihilism based on their focus. The first type of Nihilism is Epistemological Nihilism, which denies the possibility of knowledge.
The second type of Nihilism is Moral Nihilism, which denies the existence of objective moral values. And finally, Existential Nihilism asserts that life lacks any intrinsic meaning or purpose.
What Is Existentialism?
Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice. It suggests that each person creates their own meaning in life through their actions and choices. Existentialists reject the idea of predetermined fate or destiny and believe that humans have complete control over their lives.
Key Tenets of Existential Philosophy
There are several key tenets of Existential philosophy:
- Existence precedes essence: This means that humans exist first and then create their own essence through their actions.
- Freedom: Humans have complete freedom to choose their own path in life.
- Responsibility: With freedom comes responsibility. Individuals must take responsibility for their choices and actions.
- Authenticity: Individuals should strive to be true to themselves and not conform to societal norms.
Is Existentialism a Nihilist?
Existentialism is often associated with Nihilism because it rejects the idea of objective meaning or purpose in life. However, there are significant differences between the two philosophies. While Nihilism denies the existence of any inherent meaning or value in life, Existentialism suggests that individuals must create their own meaning through their actions and choices.
Existentialism also emphasizes individual freedom and choice, whereas Nihilism does not. Existentialists believe that humans have complete control over their lives, while Nihilists believe that everything is predetermined and out of our control.
The Differences Between Existentialism and Nihilism
There are several key differences between Existentialism and Nihilism:
- Meaning: While Nihilists deny the existence of any intrinsic meaning or purpose in life, Existentialists suggest that individuals must create their own meaning through their actions and choices.
- Freedom: Existentialists emphasize individual freedom and choice, whereas Nihilists do not.
- Control: Existentialists believe that humans have complete control over their lives, while Nihilists believe that everything is predetermined and out of our control.
Existentialism and Nihilism are two distinct philosophies with some similarities. While both reject the idea of objective meaning or purpose in life, they have significant differences.
Existentialism emphasizes individual freedom and choice, while Nihilism does not. Therefore, Existentialism is not a Nihilist philosophy.