Beyond the Subject: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Hermeneutics

SUNY Press
Free sample

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.

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About the author

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Sep 1, 2019
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Pages
156
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ISBN
9781438473833
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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With Western cultures becoming more pluralistic, the question of "truth" in politics has become a game of interpretations. Today, we face the demise of the very idea of truth as an objective description of facts, though many have yet to acknowledge that this is changing.

Gianni Vattimo explicitly engages with the important consequences for democracy of our changing conception of politics and truth, such as a growing reluctance to ground politics in science, economics, and technology. Yet in Vattimo's conception, a farewell to truth can benefit democracy, exposing the unspoken issues that underlie all objective claims. The end of absolute truth challenges the legitimacy of policies based on perceived objective necessities protecting the free market, for example, even if it devastates certain groups or classes. Vattimo calls for a truth that is constructed with consensus and a respect for the liberty of all. By taking into account the cultural paradigms of others, a more "truthful" society freer and more democratic becomes possible.

In this book, Vattimo continues his reinterpretation of Christianity as a religion of charity and hope, freeing society from authoritarian, metaphysical dogmatism. He also extends Nietzsche's "death of God" to the death of an authoritarian God, ushering in a new, postreligious Christianity. He connects the thought of Martin Heidegger, Karl Marx, and Karl Popper with surprising results and accommodates modern science more than in his previous work, reconciling its validity with an insistence that knowledge is interpretive. Vattimo's philosophy justifies Western nihilism in its capacity to dispense with absolute truths. Ranging over politics, ethics, religion, and the history of philosophy, his reflections contribute deeply to a modern reconception of God, metaphysics, and the purpose of reality.

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