Nihilism is extreme skepticism about existence and about religious or moral principles.
A desire for the complete rejection of the established order or social system and religious principles is an example of nihilism.
- the denial of the existence of any basis for knowledge or truth
- the general rejection of customary beliefs in morality, religion, etc.also ethical nihilism
- the belief that there is no meaning or purpose in existence
- the doctrine that existing social, political, and economic institutions must be completely destroyed in order to make way for new institutions
- a movement in Russia (c. 1860-1917) which advocated such revolutionary reform and attempted to carry it out through the use of terrorism and assassination
- loosely any violent revolutionary movement involving the use of terrorism
Origin of nihilism; from Classical Latin nihil (see nihil) + -ism
- Philosophy The doctrine that nothing actually exists or that existence or values are meaningless.
- Relentless negativity or cynicism suggesting an absence of values or beliefs: nihilism in postwar art.
- a. Political belief or action that advocates or commits violence or terrorism without discernible constructive goals.b. also Nihilism A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid-19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination.
- Psychiatry A delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that the world or one's mind, body, or self does not exist.
Origin of nihilismLatin nihil, nothing; see ne in Indo-European roots + –ism.
- (philosophy) Extreme skepticism, maintaining that nothing has a real existence.
- (ethics) The rejection of all moral principles.
- (politics) (capitalized by protagonist Turgenev) A Russian anarchistic revolutionary doctrine (1860-1917) holding that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program or possibility.
- The belief that all endeavors are ultimately futile and devoid of meaning.
- "...the band members sweat hard enough to earn their pretensions, and maybe even their nihilism" (rock critic Dave Marsh, reviewing the band XTC's album Go)
- Contradiction (not always deliberate) between behavior and espoused principle, to such a degree that all possible espoused principle is voided.
- The deliberate refusal of belief, to the point that belief itself is rejected as untenable.