Between Nihilism and Politics

The Hermeneutics of Gianni Vattimo

Edited by Silvia Benso & Brian Schroeder

Subjects: Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Religion, Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438432847, 274 pages, July 2011
Hardcover : 9781438432854, 274 pages, October 2010

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Table of contents

List of Abbreviations
Brian Schroeder
Part One. Hermeneutics and Nihilism
1. The Experiment of Nihilism: Interpretation and Experience of Truth in Gianni Vattimo
Gaetano Chiurazzi
2. Vattimo’s Theory of Truth
Franca D’Agostini
3. Vattimo’s Hermeneutics as a Practice of Freedom
David Webb
4. Weak Thought and the Recovery of Reason
Robert T. Valgenti
5. Beyond Interpretation? On Some Perplexities Following upon Vattimo’s “Turn” from Hermeneutics
Peter Carravetta
Part Two. Metaphysics and Religion
6. Metaphysics, Violence, and Alterity in Gianni Vattimo
Edison Higuera
7. Thinking the Origin, Awaiting Salvation
Claudio Ciancio
8. Postmodern Salvation: Gianni Vattimo’s Philosophy of Religion
Giovanna Borradori
9. Secularization as a Post-Metaphysical Religious Vocation: Gianni Vattimo’s Post-Secular Faith
Eduardo Mendieta
Part Three. Politics and Technology
10. Philosophy and Politics at the End of Metaphysics
James Risser

11. Deciding to Bear Witness: Revolutionary Rupture and Liberal Continuity in Weak Thought
Luca Bagetto
12. Emancipation and the Future of the Utopian: On Vattimo’s Philosophy of History
Silvia Benso
13. “Postmodernity as the Ontological Sense of Technology” and Democratic Politics
Erik M. Vogt
14. What’s Wrong with Biotechnology? Vattimo’s Interpretation of Science, Technology, and the Media
Martin G. Weiss

Essays describe Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo’s unique and radical hermeneutic philosophy.


This is the first collection of essays in English that deals directly with the philosophy of Gianni Vattimo from a purely critical perspective, further establishing his rightful place in contemporary European philosophy. Vattimo, who first came to prominence as the translator of Gadamer's Truth and Method into Italian, is now considered to be more than a philosopher and prolific author. As a former member of the European Parliament (1999–2004), he is also a public intellectual. This book takes up his call to advance the crucial active and affirmative engagement with thinking and society. More than just interpretations of Vattimo's thinking, these essays are expressions of the new impetus given to hermeneutic philosophy by "weak thought," the term he coined for how we think now in the wake of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Gadamer. The development of Vattimo's thinking is reflected in the organization of the volume, divided into three main parts: Hermeneutics and Nihilism, Metaphysics and Religion, and Politics and Technology.

Silvia Benso is Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the author of The Face of Things: A Different Side of Ethics; translator and coeditor (with Brian Schroeder) of Contemporary Italian Philosophy: Crossing the Borders of Ethics, Politics, and Religion; and cotranslator (with Brian Schroeder) of Carlo Sini's Ethics of Writing, all published by SUNY Press. Brian Schroeder is Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the coeditor (with Lissa McCullough) of Thinking through the Death of God: A Critical Companion to Thomas J. J. Altizer, also published by SUNY Press.