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In his book “Nihilism and Culture” J. Goudsblom quotes David Hume: “It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the world to the scratching of my finger.”

Not contrary to reason, but contrary to common sense, to idealism, to morality?


17 comments Last comment
I think reason and common sense are more universal than idealism and morality.
What is the aim of Goudsbloom? To show the limitations of reason, logic? To call for a little jump of faith: i.c; morality? If one reasons that most people are unhappy, that the human project has failed then preferring the destruction of the world to the scratching of the finger is not without logic.It's based on a little mathematical comparison wich is logical. true or false is another question. This doesn't mean that the reasoning fails here, it simply proofs that morality is not always apt to give answers to the world. The world is an amoral place. It will not cease to exist because we behave not morally'.One day the world will come to an end, no matter what
Does the word 'prefer' here holds a moral connotation or not? We prefer something because we think it's better. So this quote is in the first place a moral one instead of a logical.

Some desires are contrary to reason,
f.i. when they are based on a false believe concerning the existence of an object or a false belief that undertaking a certain action is a sufficient means to a further end.

what's univeral about common sense?
that it's to be found all around the world
or did you refer to it's content being universal?
no it isnt contrary, with "nucleair buttons" and a lot of fingers indifferent of scratching or not, with idealism indifferent of common sense and morality.
Maybe Hume saw another destruction of the world in his days which already have come true a couple of times (WW I and II), the fundaments are the same.
There are many desires/aims, and reason can be used to attain the fulfilment of each one of these various desires. Off course these various aims can conflict with one another. Morality is only one of the aims, but it is essential to morality that it wants all others to be subordinate to it. Common sense is perhaps an attempt to balance these various desires, to bring some harmony, so as to make the outcome in general most favourable.
The desire to talk to dwarfs is contrary to reason since there are no dwarfs.
Since the destruction of the world is a realistic option it is not contrary to reason.
Imagine, in times of the Cold war bombs to destroy the world by one touch were designed.
I think destroying the world doesn't necessarily have to be contrary to morality.
I think that destroying the world is contrary to common sense as it is nowadays.
Reason cannot be used for impossible aims, architecture is of no use in building an imaginary castle or a hovering castle or something.
(And I think they prefer to be called "little people".)
I am sorry, i do not follow your comment.
i understand what you wrote but i don't see the connection with my comment
Reason & nihilism
@Mieke Dutoit
'Goudsbloom' - Goldblum? - Goudsblom
- His 'aim' was to provide an historical overview of nihilism. Ever heard of it?
What the hell would be 'the human project'?
'(...) wich is logical' - which (in a few years from now you will start writing 'witch' I'm sure).
'proofs - proves
''morality is not always apt to give answers to the world.'
- What was the question?
- 'Does the word 'prefer' here HOLD a moral connotation or not?'
(It holdS...,/ Does it holD?)
As far as philosophy is concerned you must be utterly lost.
You clearly have heard some sounds, but what they mean....?
There's this proverb about a bell etc....

The David Hume quote is a quote on logic.
'... in the first place' ? What would be the 'in the second place'?
@ jeanette p
'univeral' - universal
it's content - its content
@ Careca
'nucleair' - nuclear
'indifferent of' - indifferent TO
'... a destruction of the world in his days...' - ... have -- HAS
@ dries van cann
'.... off course...' Are 'these various aims' off course?
- OF course ....
Apart from these spelling comments, I really don't understand a word you're saying:
'Morality is only one of the aims' ??? .... BUT it is essential...
@ Hanny Verheezen
How did you get from the post to this comment?
- 'The desire to talk to dwarfs...', etc etc ?!
You must have lost track of where you are posting your comments!
You are not confusing David Hume with Jonathan Swift, are you?
Anyway, nihilism and reason - (don't want to) - have nothing to do with 'moralism, ethics, common sense, idealism'. BY DEFINITION.
Please you all there on this blog: (re)read WF Hermans: 'Een wonderkind of een total loss'.
[Prodigy Or Total Loss]
Last (3) sentence(s): "Scheppend nihilisme, agressief medelijden, totale misanthropie.'
{'Creative nihilism, aggressive sorrow, total misanthropy.'}
Thats far from nihilistic, thank you.
No, I did not lose track. Please read it again, and again if necessary.
"The desire to talk to dwarfs is contrary to reason since there are no dwarfs."
How many times I reread this sentence, the connection with David Hume's quote or the subject of Goudblom's book (nihilism) still entirely escapes me.
If the desire is based on a false belief as to an object's existence, it is contrary to reason.
Its a complete delusion to think dwarves don't exist. They are simply very short humans.

Even if you mean Tolkien's dwarves, it is not contrary to reason to wish to speak to them if you believe they exist.