We know that knowledge does in fact obtain in the real world because the denial of this claim refutes itself. Some today falsely pretend that we do not know, when in fact the only proper question is how do we do the knowing that we so often do? We do not properly question the fact of knowledge, but only its right interpretation and management.
Nihilism, a philosophy that takes it name from the word for “nothing,” represents not actually any one philosophy, but what amounts to a convoluted package of mutally incompatible affirmations. The pretense it maintains seems profound when the nihilist constantly asks the question “How do you know ….”. Here are a few facts worth noting about nihilism that you should know and never tire of repeating for the “memory-challenged” nihilist.
a. Nihilists on their own view do not know anything.
If you simply ask them, they will often admit this. If they say “We are not sure,” ask “exactly of what are you sure?” (Nothing). Then they go right on to affirm all kinds of things as true and known, which they have just admitted they do not know, or affirm they are not sure of (This is but the same thing said twice). The only real tactics the nihilist has are two — endless questions, “How do you know? …,” and after admitting no knowledge, they must get their opponents to forget that the challenge that they have won the debate (they will eventually claim this), presupposes that they now have knowledge, and that they used sound arguments to win the debate — sound arguments that they earlier denied. If they cannot get you to take your eye off this ball, they cannot defeat you, or anyone else (ever) in debate.
1. “You cannot prove (or know) that ….” [The Nihilists challenge this but cannot know it]. So they instead put it in question form:
“How do you know that…?) . This question could mean “How did you learn that “such and such” is true?” or else “How do you justify the claim that “such and such” is true, or “What method of gaining knowledge might I use to learn that X is true?” etc. The typical point is to try to show you that you cannot prove what you believe. But the nihilist implicitly assumes all kinds of things throughout his painful and arbitrary interrogation, and he takes his own arbitrariness (falsely) to prove yours.
2. “Your argument is circular.” This the Nihilist falsely takes to means that you have lost the debate. Given his standards (He does not have any) you could not lost the debate upon the discovery of any fallacy in your position or argument structure. Moreover, if one can prove the conclusion of a circular argument upon grounds independently of the circle itself, the circle does not count as fallacious, since the conclusion is proven the other ground — one such ground for which can be logical necessity. Circularity is a necessary feature of worldviews since their metaphysical outlook informs their epistemology (which proves their metaphysical outlook, and their ethical strictures bear the same relationship to both elements). This circularity is simply a feature of coherence. without this mutually confirming interdependence, one gets instead dissonance of dialectical tensions.
So, if your “circle” is coherent, you are “bad” for being consistent, but if not, then you are “bad” for being noncircular (self-contradictory). Catch 22? Hardly. This shows that the fallacy of circular reasoning has a necessary exception. When considering reasoning at the highest level of your epistemic architecture, since coherence is a necessary feature of truth, circular reasoning is (PRE) LOGICALLY REQUIRED, else self-contradiction ensues. In other words, if one’s “reasoned circle” is independently confirmed by logical necessity, then the circularity is not relevant, given its logical necessity as proof of its truth status. How do you know this circle is logical necessary? Its denial implies its own self-denial. Aristotle 102.
You know that an argument (or proposition) is logically necessary when its denial implies its own undoing. For example, when Aristotle was challenged to prove the positive truth-value (truth-yield capability) of reason itself, he pointed out that arguing against reason requires just what the opponent’s conclusion denies. This shows that logic has “transcendental status.”
3. They love the challenge that one’s argument (yours) presupposes the principle the excluded middle (which they take falsely to have been challenged successfully — even though they have no criteriology that could confirm this — yet this principle it turns out has transcendental status — rendering their challenge a big yawn.
4. Nihilism has no formal adequacy — no coherence and no correspondence — and no material adequacy. Duo-monotheism has all three features.
5. Nihilism is entirely question-begging, circular, and contradictory. What can any Nihilist offer to favor its position? Nothing. So why beg the question in this direction when Solomonic Deism offers trillions of dollars in value, great science and technology, outstanding coffee-brewing machines and microwave ovens?
6. Nihilism attempts to reduce all things to the status of the arbitrary. This admits that Nihilists can justify no particular argument against your views, and that no objection of theirs to anything you say has any real substance (it is a mirage by their own testimony) — so what right has the nihilist to require you to listen to their whining? (None. They have nothing profitable to say and will tell you so if you ask them).
Always ask the questioning Nihilist — “Does this question have any provable relevance or value?” “Will it prove that I do not have knowledge?”
7. When you show that they are self-contradictory, or arbitrary or both, they always say “That is just the point.” They take by this to mean that you and everyone else are arbitrary or self-contradictory MERELY because they are. This is their favorite non-sequitur.
8. All sound and valid arguments have premisses related to conclusions by LOGICAL NECESSITY. This is the opposite of what every logician (and dictionary) means by the word “arbitrary.” The Nihilist attempts to reduce all features of human experience, including logical necessity — to the status of the arbitrary. Here, things mean their opposites — black is white and up is down, when the logically necessary is stipulated to be arbitrary. Conversely (flip side of the coin), all sound and valid arguments falsify Nihilism — since the existence of logical necessity implies the denial of “universal arbitrariness.”
9. The Nihilist hopes to show to the Monotheist (or other debate opponent) that the opponent of Nihilism is arbitrary, abuses language, or contradicts himself, or some combination thereof. This means that if you do this, you have lost the debate. Note this implied standard that the Nihilist seeks to impose because he violates it often in his own reasoning — meaning that given his own standard, he has lost the debate, since he admits that his arguments are arbitrary (by arguing that all is arbitrary) meaning unjustified. Given his views, he cannot but lose. Given the ASD position, we cannot but win, since the light of nature forms the only plausible ground for debate. If given our view, we necessarily win, and his — that he necessarily loses, the outcome of the debate is foregone.
Note that each of these “loss” or “win” conclusions obtains independently of the other, so that the principle of excluded middle need not obtain for the loss of the one to imply a win for the other, or vice-versa.
Ask the nihilist is (s) he has any sound or valid arguments in favor of his position or against yours. Logicians call this “Check mate.”
Knowledge does in fact obtain because the denial of knowledge refutes itself (as unknowable).
Notes For Monotheism dualists — Since knowledge obtains, and the Nihilist has already agreed with you that all the other positions that are not duo-monotheistic and not Nihilism are unjustified or falsified by their own standards — you may freely affirm that “Either Solomonic Deism is true or else Nihilism. But Nihilism cannot be true on its own terms since the idea of truth amounts to a denial of nihilism. Therefore Solomonic Deism obtains since it is proven to be true by its own standards, and nihilism is refuted by them. Nihilism refutes nihilism, and ASD refutes Nihilism. Neither refutes ASD. The only option left is the one that justifies knowledge and is thereby proven to be true by both positions. ASD wins.
One final note: The fact is that all language presupposes the legitimacy of the principle of the excluded middle, since word definitions (semantic content more generally) derive their meanings ultimately from what they exclude. Nihilists then do what they challenge in others — when they do the challenging.
In other words, by the word “car” in English, we mean “not a tree, not a house,” etc. etc. This follows from the fact that Every language has a limited number of semantic terms and referents. People (whom you might call psycho-linguists) actually count this stuff.
Self-conscious Nihilists are only trying to bully you with “apparent logic” into their camp. Do not be deceived by the veneer of civility. It is but a ruse to manage you and they will take any linguistic course of trickery, including deliberate lying and manipulation — to manage it. Do not be surprised when they quit the logic game and begin swearing at you like the devil or threaten to bomb your house, or take a hammer to your favorite appliance, if you do not become a Nihilist.