Let's say Alice has logically arrived at existential Nihilism, which is

the philosophy that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value (wiki)

This carries two claims,

  1. Alice's life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value
  2. Everyone's life is without objective meaning, purpose or intrinsic value

Now Bob argues that while the first claim is correct, the second can't be. Bob offers two arguments, either of which is sufficient to prove his claim:

  1. Alice can't speak for others, who may have a notion of meaning for their life
  2. There is no reason to believe that everyone in the world will agree with Alice's reasoning that justifies existential Nihilism

My questions are:

  1. Is Bob's conclusion correct? Are both of his arguments correct?
  2. This must've been studied before. Where? If not studied directly, this argument that "you cannot claim something to hold over everyone's lives" must be common, what is it called?
  3. I'm choosing to call claim #1 "personal existential nihilism" and claim #2 "universal existential nihlism". What can be a better terminology for this? Preferably the one that answer to question #2 uses

P.S. An interesting consequence of what can happen if Bob turns out to be right, not essential to the body of the question:

Let's assume that

  1. The answer is Yes, and Alice agrees with Bob's conclusion.
  2. Alice realizes that she cares about lives of others. That is to say that she will assign a value to her own life based on value of other's lives.

Before accepting Bob's conclusion, that didn't matter because others' lives were without value.

After accepting Bob's conclusion, others' lives get a value and so did Alice's, and so even claim #1 is refuted by Bob's conclusion under these assumptions.

  • 1
    Neither are "logical arguments". Alice arrived at the conclusion that "the philosophy that life is without objective meaning": this is her point of view, like her own taste about strawberries and soccer team. Thus, tehre is no reason to assume that everyone must agree with Alice. Jul 15 '19 at 7:48

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