Existentialism Movement Variations

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Nihilism

Nihilism is the concept of nothingness or nonexistence. It is generally considered a dark, hopeless philosophical stance, one that recognizes no values and sets no goals for life. The word comes from the Latin phrase nihil, meaning "nothing," and was coined by the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev in his 1862 novel Fathers and Sons. The concept is related to the philosophy of the ancient Greek skeptics, who rejected the idea of any philosophical certainty, and it has appeared in one form or another throughout the history of Western civilization.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, nihilism was most closely associated with Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who saw it as more than just despair, but as a force of destruction. In his book The Will To Power, published in 1901, Nietzsche argued that the meaninglessness presented by nihilism would win acceptance over other systems of thought, and...

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This section contains 941 words
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Buy the Existentialism Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Existentialism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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