Foundational collection on one of the most influential concepts to emerge from contemporary Italian philosophy.
Heralding the beginning of the philosophical dialogue on the concept for which Gianni Vattimo would become best known (and coining its name), this groundbreaking 1983 collection includes foundational essays by Vattimo and Pier Aldo Rovatti, along with original contributions by nine other Italian philosophers influenced by and working within the authors’ framework. Dissatisfied with the responses to nineteenth- and twentieth-century European philosophy offered by Marxism, deconstruction, and poststructuralism, Vattimo found in the nihilism of Friedrich Nietzsche an important context within which to take up the hermeneutics of Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. The idea of weak thought sketched by Vattimo and Rovatti emphasizes a way of understanding the role of philosophy based on language, interpretation, and limits rather than on metaphysical and epistemological certainties—without falling into relativism. To the first English-language edition of this volume, translator Peter Carravetta adds an extensive critical introduction, providing an overview of weak thought and taking stock of its philosophical trajectory over more than a quarter century.
“For the past thirty years, weak thought has been busy writing a chapter in the history of philosophy—a history to which … this book will now contribute an important paragraph.” — Common Knowledge
Gianni Vattimo is Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Turin and Member of the European Parliament. He is the author of several books on art, interpretation, and ethics, including The Adventures of Difference;The End of Modernity; and A Farewell to Truth. Pier Aldo Rovatti is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Trieste. He is the author of books on Levinas, Husserl, and Wittgenstein, as well as La filosofia puó curare? and Abitare la distanza. Peter Carravetta is Alfonse M. D’Amato Professor in Italian Studies at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is the author of Del Postmoderno and The Elusive Hermes.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is “Weak Thought”? The Original Theses and Context of il pensiero debole Peter Carravetta
1. Dialectics, Difference, Weak Thought Gianni Vattimo
2. Transformation through Experience Pier Aldo Rovatti
3. Antiphorphyry Umberto Eco
4. In Praise of Appearance Gianni Carchia
5. On the Ethics of Weakness, Simone Weil, and Nihilism Alessandro Dal Lago
6. The Aging of the “School of Suspicion” Maurizio Ferraris
7. Heidegger’s Lichtung as lucus a (non) lucendo Leonardo Amoroso
8. Wittgenstein and the “idly turning wheels” Diego Marconi
9. When upon the snow covered village silently the Castle appears… The Narrative Tendency before the Unnaratable Landscape Giampiero Comolli
10. Franz Kafka’s Man without Identity Filippo Costa
11. Absence of Foundation and Social Project Franco Crespi