Report Refutation of existence of an all powerful being. in Metaphysics and Epistemology Posted July 22, 2011 I think you completely missed the point. The negative is the absence of the positive, and it IS true that a thing cannot be said to exist in any meaningful way unless there is some conceivable alternative. How is it nihilistic to say that values presupppose an alternative to life, which is non-life or death? If there is no alternative to being alive then it would actually be true that it doesn't matter what you do. Why is this problematic? I cannot imagine a way to reconcile the sense of life indicated in that quote with the positions advocated by Smith in that section of her book (or by Rand, herself, with the robot analogy). The essence of both is the premise that the meaning and significance of life is contingent upon the possibility of death; that the meaning and significance of pleasure is contingent upon the possibility of pain. It is, in essence, the same form of argument (with the same nihilistic premises) as the argument which opened this thread concerning the omnipotence of God. Strength requires the possibility of weakness, life requires the possibility of death, pleasure requires the possibility of pain, the positive in the universe is dependent upon the existence of the negative. Think through what this means. It means that the degree to which one is incapable of dying, one is not really alive and therefore to really be alive, one must be teetering just on the edge of death. It means that the degree to which one is incapable of pain (sort of like Roark only having the "pain go so deep"), one is not really capable of pleasure- that one must be teetering just on the edge of pain to fully experience pleasure (Sadism). I cannot and will not EVER accept any such premise- and to the extent that Objectivists genuinely do, it will be the end of Objectivism (to MY great dismay). Pleasure is NOT the absence of pain. Life is NOT the absence of death. Reward is NOT the absence of punishment. The Positive is NOT the absence of the Negative. All incorporate the absence of their opposite- but all are SO MUCH MORE than the absence of their opposite- and therefore are abundantly possible, meaningful, and significant apart from their opposite.