agnostic | anstk | n. & a. M19. [f. A-10 + GNOSTIC.] A n. A person who holds the view that nothing can be known of the existence of God or of anything beyond material phenomena. Also, a person who is uncertain or non-committal about a particular thing. M19. B adj. Of or pertaining to agnostics or agnosticism. L19.
Coined by T. H. Huxley (OED); but occurs earlier in a letter of 1859 from Isabel Arundell.
agnostical a. L19. agnostically adv. L19. agnosticism | -sz()m | n. the doctrine or tenets of agnostics, an agnostic attitude L19.
cf. Nihilism on
Demographic research services normally list agnostics in the same category as atheists and/or non-religious people. Some sources use agnostic in the sense of noncommittal. Agnosticism often overlaps with other belief systems. Agnostic theists identify themselves both as agnostics and as followers of particular religions, viewing agnosticism as a framework for thinking about the nature of belief and their relation to revealed truths. Some nonreligious people, such as author Philip Pullman, identify as both agnostic and atheist.
Thomas Henry Huxley defined the term:
Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable.
Agnostic (Greek: ἀ- a-, without + γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) was used by Thomas Henry Huxley in a speech at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in 1876 to describe his philosophy which rejects all claims of spiritual or mystical knowledge. Early Christian church leaders used the Greek word gnosis (knowledge) to describe "spiritual knowledge." Agnosticism is not to be confused with religious views opposing the ancient religious movement of Gnosticism in particular; Huxley used the term in a broader, more abstract sense. Huxley identified agnosticism not as a creed but rather as a method of skeptical, evidence-based inquiry.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nihilism (pronounced /ˈnaɪ.əlɪzəm/ or /ˈniː.əlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological, metaphysical or ontological forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible or that contrary to our belief, some aspect of reality does not exist as such.
The term nihilism is sometimes used in association with anomie to explain the general mood of despair at a perceived pointlessness of existence that one may develop upon realizing there are no necessary norms, rules, or laws. Movements such as Futurism and deconstruction, among others, have been identified by commentators as "nihilistic" at various times in various contexts.