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Gianni Vattimo
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Gianteresio Vattimo (born 4 January 1936) is an Italian

philosopher and politician. Gianni Vattimo

1 Biography
2 Philosophy
3 Views and opinions
3.1 Support for Hamas
3.2 Antisemitism Born Gianteresio Vattimo
4 Quotes 4 January 1936
5 Works Turin, Piedmont, Italy
6 See also
Alma mater University of Turin (Laurea, 1959)
7 References
8 Further reading Era 20th-century philosophy
9 External links Region Western Philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Biography Hermeneutics
Main interests Ethics
Gianteresio Vattimo was born in Turin, Piedmont. He
studied philosophy under the existentialist Luigi Pareyson Political philosophy
at the University of Turin, and graduated with a laurea in Notable ideas Pensiero debole (weak thought)
1959. After studying with Karl Lwith and Hans-Georg Influences
Gadamer in Heidelberg he returned to Turin where he
became assistant professor in 1964, and later full Influenced
professor of Aesthetics in 1969. While remaining at
Turin, becoming Professor of Theoretical Philosophy in 1982, he has been a visiting professor at a number
of American Universities.

Vattimo says he was exempted from military service.[1]

After being active in the Partito Radicale, the short-lived Alleanza per Torino, and the Democrats of the
Left, Vattimo joined the Party of Italian Communists. He was elected a member of the European Parliament
first in 1999 and for a second mandate in 2009.

He is openly gay and a nihilist who has embraced Nietzsche's idea of god's death.[2]

Vattimo's philosophy can be characterized as postmodern with his emphasis on "pensiero debole" (weak
thought). This requires that the foundational certainties of modernity with its emphasis on objective truth
founded in a rational unitary subject be relinquished for a more multi-faceted conception closer to that of the
arts. He draws on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger with his critique of foundations and the hermeneutic
philosophy of his teacher Hans-Georg Gadamer. Perhaps his greatest influence though is the thought of
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structures are just a play of forces" (1993:93) plays an important role in Vattimo's notion of "weak thought."

Vattimo rejects any notion of a transcendental structure of reason or reality that would be given once and for
all. This does not imply the loss of truth, but a Heideggerean reinterpretation of truth as the opening of
horizons. Such truth is deeper than propositions which are made possible by such openings. Philosophies
then are always responses to contingent questions, they are 'ontologies of actuality,' a thesis that can be
confirmed by the historico-cultural links of particular philosophies. For hermeneutics to be consistent with
its own rejection of metaphysics, it must present itself, argues Vattimo "as the most persuasive philosophical
interpretation of a situation or 'epoch'" (1997:10). To do this, Vattimo proposes a reading of hermeneutics as
having a "=nihilistic=" vocation.[3]

To Vattimo, hermeneutics has become boring and vague, lacking any clear significance for philosophical
problems. His answer is to insist on the nihilistic consequences of hermeneutics. The claim that "there are no
facts only interpretations and this too is an interpretation" amounts to saying that hermeneutics cannot be
seen as the most accurate/true description of the permanent structures of reality of human existence.
Hermeneutics is not a metaphysical theory in this sense and so can only be "proved" by being presented as
the response to a history of being, a history of the fabling of the world, of the weakening of structures, that is
as the occurrence of nihilism.

This nihilistic reading of history involves a certain attitude towards modernity, whereby modernity is
dissolved from within through a twisting, distorting radicalisation of its premises. Vattimo uses Heidegger's
term Verwindung to capture this post-modern recovery from modernity.

History as a process of weakening (secularisation and disenchantment are other terms Vattimo uses)
"assumes the form of a decision for non-violence" (1992:95). An ethics of communication along the lines
suggested by Jrgen Habermas suffers, according to Vattimo, from finding itself in a substantially ahistorical
position, while oscillating between formalism and cultural relativism (1992:117). For Vattimo it is only
when hermeneutics accepts its nihilistic destiny that "it can find in 'negativity,' in dissolution as the 'destiny
of Being' ... the orientating principle that enables it to realize its own original inclination for ethics whilst
neither restoring metaphysics nor surrendering to the futility of a relativistic philosophy of culture"

In 2004, after leaving the party of the Democrats of the Left, he endorsed Marxism, reassessing positively its
projectual principles and wishing for a "return" to the thought of the Trier philosopher and to a communism,
rid of distorted soviet developments, which have to be dialectically overcome. Vattimo asserts the continuity
of his new choices with the "weak thought," thus having changed "many of his ideas." He namely refers to a
"weakened Marx,"[4] as ideological basis capable of showing the real nature of communism. The new
Marxist approach, therefore, emerges as a practical development of the "weak thought" into the frame of a
political perspective. His next political book, co-authored with Santiago Zabala, is Hermeneutic
Communism: From Heidegger to Marx (2011).

The authors explain the book Hermeneutic Communism as follows: "Although the material published here
has never been released before, there are two books that have determined the production of this text:
Gianni's Ecce Comu: Come si diventa cio che si era (2007) and Santiago's The Remains of Being:
Hermeneutic Ontology After Metaphysics (2009). In the former, Vattimo emphasized the political necessity
of reevaluating communism; in the latter, Zabala insisted on the progressive nature of hermeneutics.
Hermeneutic Communism can be considered a radical development of both."[5]

Views and opinions

Support for Hamas

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remove Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations and grant it full recognition as a legitimate voice of the
Palestinian people.

On July 22, 2014, in response to the IDF military operation in Gaza against Hamas attacks on Israel, Vattimo
said he would personally like to "shoot those bastard Zionists" and thinks Europeans should raise money "to
buy Hamas some more rockets."[1] He expressed his willingness to go to Gaza and fight side by side with
Hamas and asserted, when asked if he would shoot at Israelis, that: 'By nature I'm non-violent, but I'd shoot
at those (of them) who bomb hospitals, private clinics and children.' Vattimo added that for him these were
'pure Nazis', the state itself a Nazi state ((uno stato nazista)) perhaps somewhat worse even than Hitler
because in Israel's case, they have the support of the great Western democracies.[6]


Vattimo has been accused of anti-semitism. Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish
Communities accused him of antisemitism, writing "words of hatred that don't add anything new and are
accompanied by the squalid reproposal of anti-Semitic stereotypes".[7][8] Rabbi Barbara Aiello, Italy's first
female rabbi, accused Vattimo of antisemitism. Reacting to his statements and to others like it, the foreign
ministers for Italy, France and Germany said that they condemn anti-Semitic slurs as well as violence that
has occurred at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Europe.[9]

It is only thanks to God that I'm an atheist.[10]
I believe that I believe. (From Credere di credere.)

Selected works:

(1991) The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in

Post-modern Culture, Translated by John R. Snyder, Polity
Press, 1991 Translation of La fine della modernit, Garzanti,
Milan, 1985
(1992) The Transparent Society Translated by David Webb,
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994 Translation of La
societ trasparente, Garzanti, Milan, 1989
(1993) The Adventure of Difference: Philosophy after Vattimo in Lima, Per in 2010
Nietzsche and Heidegger Translated by Thomas Harrison and
Cyprian P. Blamires, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993
Translation of Le avventure della differenza, Garzanti, Milan, 1980
(1997) Beyond Interpretation:The Meaning of Hermeneutics for Philosophy, Translated by David
Webb, Stanford University Press, 1997 Translation of Oltre l'interpretazione, Laterza, Rome-Bari,
(1998) Religion by Jacques Derrida, Edited by Gianni Vattimo, Translated by David Webb Stanford
University Press, 1998
(1999) Belief by Gianni Vattimo, et al., Polity Press, 1999 Translation of Credere di credere, Garzanti,
Milan, 1996
(2002a) Nietzsche: Philosophy as Cultural Criticism Translated by Nicholas Martin Stanford
University Press, 2002 Translation of Introduzione a Nietzsche, Laterza, Rome-Bari,1985
(2002b) After Christianity, New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.
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(2004) Nihilism and Emancipation: Ethics, Politics and Law, Edited by Santiago Zabala, Columbia
University Press, 2004
(2005) The Future of Religion, Richard Rorty and Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Santiago Zabala,
Columbia University Press, 2005
(2006) After the Death of God, John D. Caputo and Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Jeffrey W. Robbins,
Columbia University Press.
(2008) Dialogue with Nietzsche, Gianni Vattimo, Columbia University Press.
(2008) Art's Claim to Truth, Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Santiago Zabala, Columbia University Press.
(2009) Christianity, Truth, and Weak Faith, Gianni Vattimo and Ren Girard, Edited by P. Antonello,
Columbia University Press.
(2010) The Responsibility of the Philosopher, Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Franca D'Agostini, Columbia
University Press.
(2011) Hermeneutic Communism, Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala, Columbia University Press.
(2012) Weak Thought, Translated by Peter Carravetta, SUNY series in Contemporary Italian
Philosophy, 2012 Translation of Il pensiero debole, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1983
(2014) Deconstructing Zionism: A Critique of Political Metaphysics, edited by Gianni Vattimo and
Michael Marder, Bloomsbury.

See also
Postmodern Christianity
Weak theology

1. Well-known Italian philosopher:'Id like to shoot those bastard Zionists' (
2. Robert Savino Oventile. " "Mellow Nihilism": A Review of Gianni Vattimo's Nihilism and Emancipation".
Sobriquet Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
3. Matthias Riedl. "The Permanence of the Eschatological: Reflections on Gianni Vattimo's Hermeneutic Age,". in
Discoursing the Post-Secular: Essays on the Habermasian Post-Secular Turn. Edited by Pter Losonczi and
Aakash Singh. LIT: Mnster 2010, pp. 111-126.
4. Gianni Vattimo. Ecce comu. Come si ri-diventa ci che si era. Fazi. Rome, 2007
5. Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala. Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marx Columbia University
Press. 2011. Pg. VII
6. Gisella Ruccia, 'Israele? Nazisti puri, forse peggio di Hitler,' (
israele-nazisti-puri-forse-peggio-di-hitler-e-volano-insulti-con-parenzo/288906/) Il Fatto Quotidiano 16 July
7. "Italian philosopher politician slammed as antiSemite". Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. Bari, Italy. July 17, 2014.
Retrieved July 23, 2014.
8. "Spiritual leaders incite violence in Gaza conflict". i24 News. Luxemburg: Newslux Sarl. July 23, 2014.
Retrieved July 23, 2014.
9. Giuffrida, Angela (July 23, 2014). " 'Shoot those bastard Zionists': Italian scholar". The Local. Rome: The Local
Europe AB. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
10. Harris, Matthew. "Gianni Vattimo (1936 )". The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
|first2= missing |last2= in Authors list (help)

Further reading
Rossano Pecoraro, Niilismo e Ps (Modernidade). Introduo ao pensamento fraco de Gianni
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Vattimo, Rio de Janeiro-So Paulo, PUC-Loyola ED. 2005.

Martin G. Weiss, Gianni Vattimo. Einfhrung. Mit einem Interview mit Gianni Vattimo, Passagen
Verlag, 2. Auflage: Wien 2006. ISBN 3-85165-738-1.
Giovanni Giorgio, Il pensiero di Gianni Vattimo. L'emancipazione dalla metafisica tra dialettica ed
ermeneutica, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2006
Davide Monaco, Gianni Vattimo. Ontologia ermeneutica, cristianesimo e postmodernit, Ets, Pisa
Weakening Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Santiago Zabala (with
contributions from U. Eco, C. Taylor, R. Rorty, J-L. Nancy, F. Savater and many others), Montreal:
McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007.
Enrico Redaelli, Il nodo dei nodi. L'esercizio del pensiero in Vattimo, Vitiello, Sini, Ets, Pisa 2008.

Ashley Woodward, Review of Weakening Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Gianni Vattimo, Edited by
Santiago Zabala", in "Colloquy" Issue 15 June 2008.
Mario Kopi, Gianni Vattimo itanka (Gianni Vattimo Reader), Zagreb, Antibarbarus, 2008. ISBN
Between Nihilism and Politics. The Hermeneutics of Gianni Vattimo. Edited by Silvia Benso and
Brian Schroeder. New York: Suny 2010. ISBN 978-1-4384-3285-4
Matthew Edward Harris, Essays on Gianni Vattimo: Religion, Ethics and the History of Ideas.
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.
Tommaso Franci, Vattimo o del nichilismo, Roma, Armando, 2011.
Ricardo Milla, Vattimo y la hermenutica poltica, en Isegoria (Madrid), 2011, julio, No 44,
pp. 339343.
Brais Gonzlez Arribas, Reduciendo la violencia. La hermenutica nihilista de Gianni Vattimo.
Madrid, Dykinson, 2016.
Emilio Carlo Corriero, "Nietzsche's Death of God and Italian Philosophy". Preface by Gianni Vattimo,
Rowman & Littlefield, London - New York, 2016

External links
Nihilism and the postmodern in Vattimo's Nietzsche (
"Gianni Vattimo". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"Mellow Nihilism": A Review of Gianni Vattimo's Nihilism and Emancipation
Vattimo in A parte rei Review (
Gianni Vattimo at Fotopedia (
Vattimo in a discussion on (
Articles of Vattimo in (
Interview with Gianni Vattimo: Democracy is not possible with absolute truths about co-existence
(, Barcelona Metropolis, 2011.
Interview with Gianni Vattimo: "Only Weak Communism Can Save Us"
(, MRZine, 2013
Europe's Times and Unknown Waters, Cluj-Napoca, Marga, Andrei (April 2009). "The Chaotic
Society (Gianni Vattimo, The Transparent Society" (

Retrieved from ""

Categories: 1936 births 20th-century Italian philosophers 21st-century Italian philosophers

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Continental philosophers Death of God theologians LGBT politicians from Italy Gay politicians
People from Turin Writers about communism Italy of Values MEPs MEPs for Italy 200914
MEPs for Italy 19992004 21st-century Italian politicians LGBT MEPs for Italy
Party of Italian Communists politicians Democrats of the Left politicians
20th-century Italian politicians University of Turin alumni
Members of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts University of Turin faculty
Heidegger scholars Nietzsche scholars Hermeneutists

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