In the last year I've found myself becoming more and more of a nihilist.
One reason for this is the problem of arbitrariness. I can't pay chess because it just seems so, well, arbitrary; why can the rook do this and the bishop do this? There's no reason for these things. It's just made up.
Not just chess, but everything. I'm watching a movie and it's pretty good as far as movies go, but then I realize that, just like chess, the movie is arbitrary and imperfect.
I'm reading a book, Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It's well-written and informative, but then it hits me that he could be totally wrong about what he's saying and I'm wasting my time. Sure, Guns, Germs, and Steel uses empirical facts to support its conclusions, but so did The Passing of the Great Race, or the Racial Basis of European History, but they both come to wildly different conclusions. So how do you know what to believe? Both seem correct when you read them, at least logically. Information, data, goes straight to conclusions in both books. So, again, who is right? How do you know what to believe in general if all belief is based on improvable information.
I'm reading about the Bosnian genocide and come across an internet link where a Serbian nationalist talks about how the Bosnians initiated the war by poisoning Serbian water supplies and raiding villages. Dammit! Even though there's much more data supporting the idea that the Serbs (Or at least their generals) were the ones mostly to blame, I can't discount what that guy said completely. The U.S. government has lied to people in the past, and it's possible that the truth about the Bosnian genocide isn't being told. I'm not saying I think that, but it's possible. So you can never be sure of anything at all??? The link between empirical data and inductive opinion-forming and conclusion-coming doesn't exist.