Nietzsche’s philosophical outlook and approach has had far-reaching and lasting effects. With his theories, thinkers and philosophers have had to consider new philosophical topics that were previously un-discussed. They were able to brush these topics off and leave them as nonsense- the things that they did not want to explain. Nietzsche made them look at these ideas and explain their positions in a new context. He was the father of post-modern philosophy, which is summarized as a skeptics look on life. Nietzsche did this by looking at the implications of man not having a nature or a destiny, or any basis at all in the way things are for appraising them one way or another. This nihilistic mentality takes the form of modernist philosophical slogans such as “there is no such thing as right or wrong,” “don’t impose your morality on me,” and “what right do you have to grade and judge me.” With this nihilistic view Nietzsche threw the old philosophy up in the air, and also proclaimed the death of God.
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Nietzsche who argued that its effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.
Descartes, for example questioned everything and asked if we truly know anything at all. Descartes questioned everything around him because all he said he truly knew for certain was that he was a thinking thing, and that there was a God. He should not be considered a nihilist because he still believed that ultimately there was knowledge.
Nietzsche did not however take Nihilism to the utmost level, yet he was still a nihilist in the sense that he did not believe one could truly know.