The Responsibility of the Philosopher

The Responsibility of the Philosopher


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Over the course of his career, Gianni Vattimo has assumed a number of public and private identities and has pursued multiple intellectual paths. He seems to embody several contradictions, at once defending and questioning religion and critiquing and serving the state. Yet the diversity of his life and thought form the very essence of, as he sees it, the vocation and responsibility of the philosopher. In a world that desires quantifiable results and ideological expediency, the philosopher becomes the vital interpreter of the endlessly complex.

As he outlines his ideas about the philosopher's role, Vattimo builds an important companion to his life's work. He confronts questions of science, religion, logic, literature, and truth, and passionately defends the power of hermeneutics to engage with life's conundrums. Vattimo conjures a clear vision of philosophy as something separate from the sciences and the humanities but also intimately connected to their processes, and he explicates a conception of truth that emphasizes fidelity and participation through dialogue.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231152433
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 06/19/2012
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gianni Vattimo is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Turin and a member of the European Parliament. His books with Columbia University Press include Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marx; A Farewell to Truth; Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith: A Dialogue; Not Being God: A Collaborative Autobiography; Art's Claim to Truth; After the Death of God; Dialogue with Nietzsche; The Future of Religion (with Richard Rorty); Nihilism and Emancipation: Ethics, Politics, and the Law; and After Christianity.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Strong Reasons for Weak Thought, by Franca D'Agostini
French Nihilism and Italian Nihilism
Nihilism and Difference
Difference and Dialectic
Nihilism, Hermeneutics, and Postmodernity
Argumentation and Provenance
This Book
Postscript (2009)
1. Philosophy and Science
After Kant, After Hegel
The Flash of the Ereignis
The Story of a Comma
Science and "Being–not beings"
The Edification of Humanity
Cumulative Knowledges
2. Philosophy, History, Literature
Truth, Rhetoric, History
Are History and Ontology Compatible?
Mythization of the World
Sciences of Nature and Sciences of the Spirit?
3. Logic in Philosophy
Logic and the Logics
Logic and the History of Being
Philosophy of Logic and Logic of Philosophy
Logic and Ontology
4. To Speak the Truth
Redemisti nos Domine Deus veritatis
The Endless Banquet
Do Vampires Exist?
5. The Vocation to Philosophy and the Responsibility of Philosophy
Writing for the Newspapers
Writing in the First Person
The Dive Into Politics
Politics Philosopher-style
Losing your Soul
Filling in the Blanks
The Construction of Universality is Political

What People are Saying About This

Santiago Zabala

There is no better guide to Gianni Vattimo's philosophy than Franca D'Agostini's introduction to this book. One of Vattimo's most skilled students, D'Agostini manages to present both the logic behind weak thought and the novelty of this text, which reveals the Italian master's intuitions on crucial problems of contemporary philosophy.

Santiago Zabala, Johns Hopkins University, author of The Remains of Being: Hermeneutic Ontology After Metaphysics

Silvia Benso

The Responsibility of the Philosopher is brilliant and entertaining without becoming overly conceptual, yet it makes no concessions to or falls into mediocrity or commonplaces. The language is consistently rigorous, yet it is incredibly clear and accessible to a philosophically unsophisticated audience.

Silvia Benso, Rochester Institute of Technology

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