In these original essays and interviews, leading hermeneutical philosophers and postmodern theorists John D. Caputo and Gianni Vattimo engage with each other's past and present work on the subject and reflect on our transition from ...
"This book is of major importance to the debate on the postmodern question."--Jean François Lyotard. "This is Vattimo at his best--and at his best he is very, very good, which is to say, erudite, witty, engaging, and precise. I do not think anyone comes close to Vattimo in his ability to correlate complex philosophical issues and arguments, such as those of Heidegger or Benjamin on such topics as &.
Gianni Vattimo reexamines the roots of modernism and postmodernism in Nietzsche, Benjamin, and Heidegger. Exploring the links between concepts of nihilism and destiny in nineteenth-century humanism, Vattimo follows these trends in aesthetic and scientific theory from Benjamin to Bloch, Ricoeur, and Kuhn.
Through an exchange that is both intimate and enlightening, Vattimo and Girard share their unparalleled insight into the relationships among religion, modernity, and the role of Christianity, especially as it exists in our multicultural ...
Hermeneutics has had a pervasive influence on contemporary philosophy, social and cultural theory, literary criticism, and aesthetics. In this book one of Europe's foremost contemporary philosophers provides hermeneutics with a fresh relevance and a substantive account of its philosophical meaning for science, ethics, religion, and art. Vattimo argues for a reading of hermeneutics that radicalises it according to what the author calls its 'nihilistic vocation', a term referring to the interpretive character of truth and taken from Nietzsche's statement that there (...) are, in the modern period, no facts, only interpretations. Modernity, for Vattimo, is conceived as the advent of nihilism, and the central question of the book is to ask what it means to take this nihilistic vocation seriously. This involves not simply accepting the current status of hermeneutics, but evaluating why it appears when, and where, it does. (shrink)
With Piergiorgio Paterlini, a noted Italian writer and journalist, Gianni Vattimo, a leading philosopher of the continental school, reflects on a lifetime of politics, sexual radicalism, and philosophical exuberance in postwar Italy.
In this book, Gianni Vattimo examines the notion of "difference" in scientific knowledge and contemporary mass society and illustrates the importance of Nietzsche and Heidegger in both formulating the concept and exploring its implications for current debates on the nature of modernity.
Richard Rorty, who was a member of our Academy and who passed away much too early, wrote that the “hermeneutical attitude is in the intellectual world what democracy is in the political world.”1 This statement is more and more evident, although not in its prima facie sense, which always runs the risk of becoming an ineffective truism. I want to suggest that the parallelism between hermeneutics and democracy should be taken today as the indication of a common crisis affecting them. (...) To say it rather brutally: both hermeneutics and democracy appear nowadays so obvious and harmless that they lose…. (shrink)
For more than forty years, Gianni Vattimo, one of Europe's most important and influential philosophers, has been a leading participant in the postwar turn that has brought Nietzsche back to the center of philosophical enquiry. In this collection of his essays on the subject, which is a dialogue both with Nietzsche and with the Nietzschean tradition, Vattimo explores the German philosopher's most important works and discusses his views on the _Ubermensch_, time, history, truth, hermeneutics, ethics, and aesthetics. He also presents (...) a different, more "Italian" Nietzsche, one that diverges from German and French characterizations. Many contemporary French and poststructuralist philosophers offer literary or aesthetic readings of Nietzsche's work that downplay its political import. Shaped by the revolutionary tradition of 1968, Vattimo's interpretations take Nietzsche seriously as a political philosopher and argue for and defend his relevance to projects for social and political change. He emphasizes the hermeneutic aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy, characterizing the Nietzschean project as a political hermeneutics. Vattimo also grapples with Heidegger, a philosopher who has had a profound influence on the interpretation and understanding of Nietzsche. Vattimo examines Heidegger's philosophy through its complex relationship to Nietzsche's, and he produces a Heideggerian understanding of Nietzsche that paradoxically goes against Heidegger's own readings of Nietzsche's work. Heidegger believed Nietzsche was the ultimate metaphysician; Vattimo sees him as the founder of postmetaphysical philosophy. Throughout these essays, Vattimo draws on and quotes extensively from fragments in Nietzsche's notebooks, many of which have never before been translated into English. His writing is clear, elegant, and accessible, and, for the first time, Vattimo's own intellectual developments, shifts, and continuities can be clearly discerned. The loyal testimony and unique perspective in _Dialogue with Nietzsche_ makes a convincing case for another orientation in Nietzsche scholarship. (shrink)
ExcerptI am retiring, but only in a certain sense. I plan to still be in contact with students who wish to work with me through seminars and research projects. Maybe, then, it was not necessary to create a special occasion such as this to announce my retirement, and for a long time I wondered whether I should. Lately, it seems that I will be more in the spotlight by being absent than I would by being here, as they say. This (...) ends up being a small act of arrogance, especially when I am faced with the solemnity of my superiors. (shrink)
Is the philosophical idea of nihilism compatible with a project of emancipation based on concepts such as autonomy, equality and freedom? This is the question to which Vattimo’s contribution seeks to provide a response. For Vattimo, the notion of nihilism is inseparable from that of hermeneutics, understood as the historically situated character of universal claims. Rather than undermining emancipation, for Vattimo, a nihilistic hermeneutics is precisely what frees us from foundations, and should thus be understood as an emancipatory force. The (...) article tries to counter a purely tragic understanding of nihilism with the constructive political horizons opened up by a nihilistic hermeneutics, which allows us to think anew the ideas of freedom and equality. (shrink)
Such is the scale of information production today that the verb ‘to know’ may be heretofore declined in the impersonal. A new ‘subject of knowledge’ - the machine - is seen as removing from homo sapiens the so far uncontested role of ‘learned subject’. This calls for a rethinking of our notions of knowledge and democracy. To think of a knowledge society where every single person would be capable of knowingly taking any type of decision on community life, points to (...) an incapacity to rethink the concept of knowledge. The fragmentation of knowledge transforms democracy into a simple possibility for each and every person to choose ‘the expert’ by whom he wishes to be guided. Kant had distinguished between ‘knowledge’ and ‘thought’, associating the latter with leisure. It appears today that pleasure and games may be the ultimate bulwarks of humanity. Perhaps we ought to be speaking of a leisure society rather than a knowledge society. (shrink)
The following interview retraces the intellectual development of a leading contemporary thinker, from his early student years to his most recent interventions as a political philosopher, and includes a discussion of some of his most well-known and influential theoretical contributions, such as the notion of “weak thought” and his reflections on postmodernism. Gianni Vattimo presents his philosophy to the reader as an “ontology of actuality” which can only properly be understood in the light of the author’s Christian background and his (...) unwavering interest in social and political questions. (shrink)