Beyond the Subject

Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Hermeneutics

By Gianni Vattimo
Edited and translated by Peter Carravetta
Introduction by Peter Carravetta

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Hermeneutics, Heidegger, Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438473826, 156 pages, January 2020
Hardcover : 9781438473819, 156 pages, September 2019

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Table of contents

Translator’s Preface

Translator’s Introduction: The End(s) of Subjectivity and the Hermeneutic Task
Peter Carravetta

Author’s Preface: The Bottle, the Net, the Revolution, and the Tasks of Philosophy: A Dialogue with Lotta Continua

1. Nietzsche, Beyond the Subject

2. Towards an Ontology of Decline

3. Heidegger and Poetry as Decline of Language

4. Outcomes of Hermeneutics

Appendix 1 The Crisis of Subjectivity from Nietzsche to Heidegger

Appendix 2 Hermeneutics as Koine

Index of Names
Index of Terms

An original reading of Nietzsche and Heidegger that paved the way for Vattimo's conception of weak thought.


In Beyond the Subject Gianni Vattimo offers a reading of Nietzsche and Heidegger that shows how the premises to overcome the metaphysical Subject were already embedded in their thought. Vattimo makes a case for a Nietzsche who is not concerned with the structure and glorification of the Overman, but rather with its opposite, by showing how it is the single individual who must see and accept his/her potential and then excel and develop an inner strength and ethic. He reads Heidegger as concerned with the inevitable distortion present in every interpretation, which, when confronted and accepted, humbles us to deal with a less overarching telos or Grund, and makes us more attuned to contingency and interpersonal communication—what Vattimo calls a "weakened" notion of being. These original readings of Nietzsche and Heidegger pave the way for Vattimo's concept of weak thought and open up to a future social ethic that is less agonistic and more community oriented. This edition includes two supplementary essays from 1986 and 1988 that expand on the same themes, providing a deeper look at an important decade in the development of Vattimo's thought.

Gianni Vattimo is Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Turin, Italy. He is the author of several books, including The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Postmodern Culture and Nietzsche: An Introduction. Peter Carravetta is Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is the author of several books, including After Identity: Migration, Critique, Italian American Culture, and the translator of Vattimo and Pier Aldo Rovatti's coedited book Weak Thought, also published by SUNY Press.