Of Reality: The Purposes of Philosophy

Of Reality: The Purposes of Philosophy

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We think it is wise to accept reality, rather than fight for something that does not exist or might never be. But in Of Reality, Gianni Vattimo condemns this complacency, with its implicit support of the status quo. Instead he urges us to never stop questioning, contrasting, or overcoming reality, which is not natural, inevitable, or objective. Reality is a construct, reflecting, among other things, our greed, biases, and tendencies toward violence.

It is no accident, Vattimo argues, that the call to embrace reality has emerged at a time when the inequalities of liberal capitalism are at their most extreme. Developed from his popular Gifford Lectures, this book advances a critical approach that recovers our interpretive powers and native skepticism toward normative claims. Though he recognizes his ideas invite charges of relativism, the philosopher counters with a discussion of truth, highlighting its longstanding ties to history and social circumstance. Truth is always contingent and provisional, and reason and reasonableness are bound to historical context. Truth is therefore never objective, and resistance to reality is our best hope to defeat the indifference that threatens the scope of freedom and democracy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231536578
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Gianni Vattimo is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Turin and a former member of the European Parliament. His most recent Columbia University Press books include A Farewell to Truth (2011); Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marx (with Santiago Zabala, 2011); The Responsibility of the Philosopher (2010); and Art's Claim to Truth (2008), all translated into several languages.
Gianni Vattimo (PhD, Philosophy, Turin) is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Turin. He is the author of a large number of books, most of which have been translated into English, including Of Reality (Columbia, 2016), A farewell to Truth (Columbia, 2011), and The Responsibility of the Philosopher (Columbia, 2010). He is also known for his political activism in support of gay rights and has served as a member of the European Parliament. As a philosopher he is known for his espousal of nihilism, his rejection of truth in favor of interpretation (hermeneutics), his adoption of weak thought as a withdrawal from metaphysics, and his situational Marxism.
Robert T. Valgenti (PhD, Philosophy, DePaul) is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College. In addition to his translations of Italian philosophical texts such as Gianni Vattimo's Of Reality (Columbia, 2016)and A Farewell to Truth (Columbia, 2011) he has published articles in edited volumes and in academic journals including Philosophy Today, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Symposium, and Tropos. His interests focus on hermeneutics, Italian philosophy, biopolitics, and philosophy of food.

Table of Contents

Part I. The Leuven Lectures
1. The Nietzsche Effect
2. The Heidegger Effect
3. The Age of the World Picture
Part II. Intermission
4. The Temptation of Realism
Part III. The Gifford Lectures
5. Tarski and the Quotation Marks
6. Beyond Phenomenology
7. Being and Event
8. The Ethical Dissolution of Reality
Part IV. Appendix
9. Metaphysics and Violence: A Question of Method
10. From Heidegger to Marx: Hermeneutics as the Philosophy of Praxis
11. The End of Philosophy in the Age of Democracy
12. True and False Universalism
13. The Evil That Is Not, 1
14. The Evil That Is Not, 2
15. Weak Thought, Thought of the Weak
16. From Dialogue to Conflict

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