• Nihilism

  • MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series
  • By: Nolen Gertz
  • Narrated by: Shaun Grindell
  • Length: 4 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When someone is labeled a nihilist, it's not usually meant as a compliment. Most of us associate nihilism with destructiveness and violence. Nihilism means, literally, "an ideology of nothing". Is nihilism, then, believing in nothing? Or is it the belief that life is nothing? Or the belief that the beliefs we have amount to nothing? If we can learn to recognize the many varieties of nihilism, Nolen Gertz writes, then we can learn to distinguish what is meaningful from what is meaningless. In this addition to the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Gertz traces the history of nihilism in Western philosophy from Socrates through Hannah Arendt and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Although the term "nihilism" was first used by Friedrich Jacobi to criticize the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, Gertz shows that the concept can illuminate the thinking of Socrates, Descartes, and others. It is Nietzsche, however, who is most associated with nihilism, and Gertz focuses on Nietzsche's thought. Gertz goes on to consider what is not nihilism - pessimism, cynicism, and apathy - and why; he explores theories of nihilism; he considers nihilism as a way of understanding aspects of everyday life; and he reflects on the future of nihilism. We need to understand nihilism not only from an individual perspective, Gertz tells us, but also from a political one.

©2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (P)2019 Gildan Media

What listeners say about Nihilism

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thought provoking

At first the Narrator sounded dramatic, like the old man in the light house in the Rick and Morty episode "Look who's purging now!" It did kind of distract me at first. However, by the end of it, his cadence and intonation helped frame the ideas as he went along. Overall the narration made it easier to follow.

There's definitely a lot of vocabulary coming at you at once, so you might have to listen to this one while you're not as distracted doing other things.

I really enjoyed it overall and look forward to revisiting it once I've become more familiar with each of the philosophers.

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very modern

this is the crux of ecoanxiety or mass extinction induced depression... very moving to see the analysis parrallel modern examples

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A great book to escape reality for a few hours :-)

Decided to start learning about Philosophy with Nihilism and this was a very good overview of Nihilism and what it is/isn't.

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Great for understanding all things nihilism

I really enjoyed listening to this book on nihilism and look forward to reading his other book;

Nihilism and Technology.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-25-20

An excellent primer on Nihilism

If you are looking for a concise volume to bring you up to speed on nihilism, look no further. This book combines brevity and levity in an engaging and informative discussion of the subject.

It covers what nihilism is not, what it is, how nihilism might be seen in our modern world, how we got to that point, and considerations on rethinking these systems.

The writing style is engaging and uses a plethora of contemporary cultural references. Further, its examples are clear and concise. Its also undeniably amusing.

The narrator complements the writing well, with excellent delivery that had me chuckling along at the appropriate moments, and pausing to contemplate in others.

I enjoyed the whole experience so much I listened to it a second time. Do recommend.