Can you explain to me the difference between existentialism and nihilism?
There are many different schools of thought regarding both existentialism and nihilism. There’s metaphysical nihilism, epistemological nihilism, moral nihilism, even existential nihilism. But for the sake of this question, I will take the most broadly construed forms of nihilism and existentialism. Nihilism is simply the belief that life and the universe lack meaning and purpose. Existentialism agrees with these ideas, but it then goes one step further. Not only is the universe meaningless, says the existentialist, but we are also free and responsible for creating our own meaning. Nihilism, on the other hand, says that creating our own meaning is a futile pursuit; there’s nothing we can do to combat the inherent meaninglessness of the cosmos. Thus, existentialism is not necessarily nihilistic because it doesn’t deny that meaning exists, it simply requires that we craft our own meaning.