Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Tucson shooter is reported to be a Nihilist

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the Safeway store in Tucson, Arizona the big question is why.  

People are blaming talk radio.  
I guess they are blaming free speech also.  
People are looking into the shooter's personal life to find a reason.  
They say he was a loner and anti-social.
The ability to buy a handgun with a thirty round clip is an issue.  
The fact that Arizona is one of four states that allows anyone without a background investigation or permit to carry a handgun concealed in any place at any time is something that bothers some people.  
One discussion has centered on the issue of the possibility that he is a Nihilist.  
I teach philosophy among other things and other than some discussions of the philosophy of  Friedrich Nietzsche.
Nietzsche I can't remember Nihilism coming up in class.  

I am sure that you all know the definition but just as a refresher, here is a definition that I found on the Internet this morning.  

1. Philosophy.
a. An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence.
b. A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.
2. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.
3. The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement. 

Knowing this makes me feel even more sad.

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