Vol. 2 No. 1 (2020): Simon Fraser University Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy

Can we Reconcile Axiological Nihilism and Pessimism: A Response to Prescott and Benatar on the Nature of Pessimism

Published 2020-10-21


  • Pessimism,
  • Axiological Nihilism,
  • Nihilism,
  • Benatar,
  • Prescott


It is commonly assumed that indifferentism, which includes axiological nihilism, is incompatible with pessimism because of the perceived conflict between a lack of objective value and a claim of objectively poor quality of existence. In this paper I will examine Benatar and Prescott’s views on what characterizes pessimism, as well as Benatar’s arguments for the badness of death, and attempt to apply similar arguments to life to find a way to argue that even though nothing is objective bad, the quality of our existences are still generally poor. I offer several non-objective pessimist arguments, including that indifferentism can be itself a source of badness in our lives.