Dogmatism, Skepticism,Cynicism, and NihilismThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Ethics, CHAPTERS 3 & 81
Dogmatism is thestubborn refusal toconsider challenges to yourown ethical point of view. When you are a dogmatist,you refuse to considerchallenges to your beliefs,values, and actions.Are you being dogmatic?2
There’s a difference betweenbeing convinced ofsomeone’s reasons througha sound argument andbeing manipulated intoaccepting their reasons.3Know the why for your what!
Prove it! Skepticism: A philosophical stance An everyday attitude ofdoubting the truth ofcommonly held beliefs4
Skepticism… A skeptical attitude toward ethical claims wouldrequire the “prove it” mentality… It will help you in the three following ways:1. You will demand a reasoned account of others’ ethicalclaims2. You will consider all points of view3. You will not be swayed by partial considerations5
Religion and Science, Dogmatists and Skeptics6…in VIDEO GAMES!
Cynicism (a Greek perspective) Historically, Cynicism started asa philosophical movement in the4th Century B.C. that lasted untilthe Fall of Rome. Antisthenes, an associate ofSocrates, is counted the 1st Cynic… Rather than a school ofphilosophy, Cynicism refers to aninformal group of philosophers withcertain attitudes and unconventionalbehaviors…“Cynicism” > Taken from About.com
Cynicism… “…the highest good of a human life was to fulfill basic,natural needs. As such, Cynics rejected the argumentthat humans needed to be concerned with socialconventions and conformity.” “…the Cynics …questioned everything, whether thatbe rules, laws, sciences, "gods", or social norms.”
Cynicism…“I am Diogenes the Dog. I nuzzle thekind, bark at the greedy and bitescoundrels.” Main cynical beliefs: people are generally selfish and dishonest!
Cynicism today Cynicism: an attitude of doubt directedagainst moral beliefs, practices, andinstitutions. Cynic: a person who believes thatpeople are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting forhonorable or unselfish reasons.
Nihilism From the Latin root nihil, “nothing”,“that which does not exist.” This same root is found in the verb“annihilate”: to bring to nothing, to destroycompletely. The term “nihilism” was coined by theGerman philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche(1844-1900) to express the rejection ofall religious and moral principles.
Nietzsche and Nihilism… In Will to Power [notes 1883-1888], Nietzschewrites,“Every belief, every consideringsomething true, is necessarilyfalse because there is simplyno true world.” For Nietzsche, there is no objective order orstructure in the world except what we give it.
So… Nihilism is the belief which: labels all values as worthless associates itself with extreme pessimismand a radical skepticism It is often seen as the belief thatlife is meaningless.
Nihilism… The objective of nihilism manifests itself in severalperspectives: Epistemological nihilism denies the possibility of knowledge andtruth, and is linked to extreme skepticism. Political nihilism advocates the prior destruction of all existingpolitical, social, and religious orders as a prerequisite for any futureimprovement. Ethical nihilism (moral nihilism) rejects the possibility of absolutemoral or ethical values. Good and evil are vague, and related valuesare simply the result of social and emotional pressures. Existential nihilism, the most well-known view, affirms that life hasno intrinsic meaning or value.