Category Archives: Abstracts

N. Davey, Praxis and the Impossibility of Hermeneutics?

Praxis and the Impossibility of Hermeneutics? Reflections on Vattimo’s  Beyond Interpretation and The Future of Hermeneutics
Nicholas Davey

Stefan Böhm wrote of Theodor Adorno, “ Negative dialectics designates a position which includes its own failure, i.e. which produces the truth-effect through its own failure”. This essay suggests that key humanistic truth-effects arise from the inevitable “failure” of Vattimo’s fundamentally “enlightenment” mode of hermeneutics. Is the inevitable consequence of Vattimo’s philosophical endeavour the “weakening” of hermeneutics itself?  Must hermeneutics fail to succeed? This argument is not so much critical of Vattimo’s account of the relation between hermeneutics and praxis as a thinking with and through his reasoning. The approach acknowledges the enormous achievement of Vattimo’s The End of Modernity  which allowed Nietzsche’s nihilism as a post-Kantian metaphysical scepticism to become tractable as a vehicle of historico-philosophical critique. Nietzsche, the first modern philosopher to make a career from deploying the concept of interpretation, initiates a movement of thought which through Vattimo’s singular mediation comes, by implication, to question the possibility of hermeneutics itself. In addressing the very possibility of hermeneutics, or rather, its (inevitable) failure, our argument concerns fundamental horizon-questions concerning the future of hermeneutics. Would hermeneutics as an intellectual orientation prosper better if it were to pass over or to fall silent about the key questions of meaning and truth? As a “hermeneutical essay” the argument which follows is inevitably provisional. The concluding claim suggests that hermeneutics, as conceived by Vattimo should endure its own kenosis  and that its defining concern with meaning and interpretation be abandoned in favour of participatory epistemology.

Hermeneutics, failure, finitude, understanding, practice


D. Jørgensen, The Dialogue of Experience

The Dialogue of Experience
Dorthe Jørgensen

In “The Dialogue of Experience,” Dorthe Jørgensen presents Gianni Vattimo’s understanding, expressed in his The Responsibility of the Philosopher, of what it means to be a philosopher. According to Jørgensen, Vattimo’s work as a philosopher is an example of ‘world-engaged philosophy’ as distinct from ‘school philosophy’ or ‘applied philosophy.’ The concept of ‘world-engaged philosophy’ is associated with Jørgensen’s concept of ‘world poetry’: that the immanent world is ambiguous; it occasions experiences of a surplus of meaning, traditionally called beauty. Furthermore, both concepts are associated with her concept of ‘basic experience’ and with her understanding of it as characterized by an immanent ‘dialogue’ between sensation, faith, and comprehension. According to Jørgensen, all experiences are rooted in sensation, faith, and comprehension; art, religion, and thought, or aesthetics, theology, and philosophy, are thus interrelated. ‘Experience’ and ‘dialogue’ also play crucial roles in Vattimo’s understanding of philosophy, and recent works such as Hermeneutic Communism confirm that his thought continues to be world-engaged. Jørgensen’s philosophy of experience allows for a development of the systematic consequences – for the relationship between aesthetics and philosophy, for instance, and in terms of the possibility of understanding theoretical thinking as a practice in itself.

Philosophy of experience, the philosopher’s vocation, dialogical conversation, basic experience, world-engaged philosophy

T. Oñate, Ontologia ermeneutica e nichilismo alla fine della modernità

Ontologia ermeneutica e nichilismo alla fine della modernità
Teresa Oñate

In this text I remember Gianni Vattimo’s The End of the Modernity (1985), in which he puts the Ontological Event (Ereignis) and Truth (Alétheia) in the middle of the discussion between Modernity and Postmodernity. The central question is to study the philosophical effects and changes that these concepts produce in the hermeneutical and historical ontology and the scope and the limits that the question of Nihilism requires; not only in the critical (methodological) sense, but also in an alternative one. We analyze then the keywords of Heidegger’s The Origin of the Artwork (1936): World and Earth. We show that the Earth can never be assimilated to Nothing, or to Death, but rather to the Potential Possibility of the Future; we can this way understand also the léthe (occulted, silenced, blinded and covered) as the tensional Alterity of non-given (Ungedachte, Umgesachte). Summarizing, we suggest that léthe must be interpreted as the Earth, that is, as the living limit of Being. All this constellation of sense (mystery, occulted, silence, non-given, reserve…) name the living soil and the roots of the Ontological Difference, and provide the possibility of all historical becoming. In conclusion: Nihilism has to be limited to his critical and methodological uses.

Ontological truth, nihilism, Earth, potential possibility, alétheia.

R. Šerpytytė, Essere nichilista

Essere nichilista: con Heidegger tra Nietzsche e cristianesimo
Rita Šerpytytė

The paper tries to reveal Gianni Vattimo’s account on faith as religious experience as well as introduce it into the context of his hermeneutical ontology. It also discusses the phenomenon of return of religion as the main feature of the contemporary religious experience itself, with particular emphasis on its nihilistic character. In order to disclose the reflexivity as the mediatory factor of thinking, which represents the gap in respect of reality and nihilism itself, the phrase of Vattimo “credere di credere” is taken into consideration. Instead of trying to interpret the meaning of this phrase along the lines of Vattimo’s philosophy, the article gives a preference to enhance the context as well as juxtapose this phrase providing both a quotation from Dostoyevsky’s Demons and Sartre’s account on faith. As Dostoyevsky puts it: “If Stavrogin believes, he does not believe that he believes, and if he does not believe, then he does not believe that he does not believe.” Meanwhile Sartre suggests: “To believe is to know that one believes, and to know that one believes is no longer to believe”. Such a juxtaposition of three approaches not only helps to reveal the hermeneutical character of Vattimo’s nihilism, but also discloses the act of reflection as the center of nihilistic move itself.

Vattimo, religion, faith, nihilism, belief, reflection, experience.

S. Hrnjez, Tempo e/è concetto

Tempo e/è concetto. Storia degli effetti di una virgola
Saša Hrnjez

This articles examines the relation between time and concept in Hegel, with a particular attention to the final pages of Phenomenology of Spirit where the cancellation of time is discussed. The main objective of our analysis is to delineate two possible identifications of time and concept in the context of Italian translation of the sentence: “Time is the concept itself that exists there” (Zeit ist der Begriff, der da ist). The problematization begins with the question whether omission of the comma in Italian translation leads to the ontological radicalization of Hegel’s thought. Having firstly taken into consideration Kojève’s reading of the identity between time and concept, and secondly Vattimo’s translation of Gadamer’s sentence “Das Sein, das verstanden werden kann, ist Sprache”, the paper points out that “translating without a comma” introduces a hermeneutical dimension of Hegel’s absolute knowing through which there is no conceptuality beyond temporality. On the other side, this conclusion will shed new light on the theme of cancellation or annihilation of time: what is annihilated is not time as such, but a certain modus of time, allowing exactly the passage to the history and its constitution as begriffene Geschichte. In that regard the paper also deals with Heidegger’s critique of the vulgar conception of time and with Derrida’s readings as well.

Time, concept, spirit, history, comma

R. Longobardi, Il desiderio dell’immagine

Il desiderio dell’immagine. Scrittura e visione in Maurice Blanchot
Rolando Longobardi

Western philosophy has always posed the question about which would be the best way to communicate reality. The problem is not only to understand it, but also to find the right tool to make it more approachable. It must not be forgotten that before the word entered in use there was the language of vision. It is upon this philosophical reflection that Maurice Blanchot focuses its aesthetic thought. His reflection upon the subject issue of writing cannot leave unquestioned its antecedent: the image. The image which, gives the object meaning in order to fulfil its path of existence and hence culminating in the inevitable event of death. The death of the image as a necessary exchange in order to give life to writing. Man turning towards the understanding of the world into which he intends to live, manifested while a de-sire for completeness and a dis-aster of awareness. Same root; oriented towards heaven and destined to appear alone on the horizon.

Word, image, Blanchot, death, yearning, disaster, corpse.

A. Martinengo, Morte e rinascita della metafora

Morte e rinascita della metafora
Alberto Martinengo

The “metaphorical revival” is one of the most relevant turning points in contemporary debate, both in the analytical philosophy and in the continental thought. From Friedrich Nietzsche’s motto on the metaphorical structure of truth, to the neuroscience inquiries language and cognition, the figurative language questions philosophy far beyond its rhetorical implications. The present paper aims at retracing aspects of the philosophical relevance of metaphor before the 20th-century turn, particularly in Giambattista Vico. The second part of the essay shows the legacy of Vico’s seminal approach in the metaphorical revival itself, in a close confrontation with Hans Blumenberg work.

Metaphor, analogy, rationality, Giambattista Vico, Hans Blumenberg

G. Pezzano, Tra normalità e anormalità

Tra normalità e anormalità. Deleuze e la norma come problema filosofico
Giacomo Pezzano

In this paper I discuss the question of the norm, conceived as a philosophical problem, rather than an ethical, political, or social one. Firstly, I outline the main declinations of the “critique of normative reason”, which has characterized most of the twentieth century’s philosophy and has pointed out the connection between norm and normalization. Secondly, I focus on the concept of “crisis” and its relationship with the problem of normativity; then I stress the ambiguity of every “state of crisis”, which could lead to claim that crisis is the most vital condition of life. Thirdly, I sketch two moments of Deleuze’s confrontation with the work of Canguilhem, in order to affirm that if we want to see the norm as a philosophical problem, we need to define some fundamental concepts as “becoming” and “relation” – that is, to understand the question of the surd or diagonal. Finally, my main thesis states that in this perspective we need not to consider one norm’s goodness or badness, but instead the transformative relation between different norms, that presides over the process of norm-shaping.

Normative reason, becoming, relation, surd, Deleuze

E. Brennan, Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics of the Self

Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics of the Self
Eileen Brennan

This paper sets out to reappraise Ricoeur’s theory of the self, offering a critical commentary on three important theses regarding Oneself as Another: those of Domenico Jervolino, Johann Michel and Jean Greisch. It challenges the commonly held assumption that the “hermeneutics of the self,” which Ricoeur introduces in that work, is continuous with his earlier works on a “reform” of subjectivity. It discusses three considerations which indicate that, from the mid to late 1980’s onwards, Ricoeur did not view “the subject” and “the self” as one and the same. It argues that the “guiding thread” in Ricoeur’s work is in fact a critical engagement with Descartes’ Second Meditation. This sustained but evolving critique of the Second Meditation is almost always the occasion for innovation. However, when it occurs in Oneself as Another it gives rise to a revolution: a break with the “philosophies of the subject” and a rapprochement with Heidegger.

Attestation, hermeneutics of the self, philosophies of the subject, psychoanalytic critique of the cogito, wounded cogito.

G. Aranzueque, Heterogeneidades sin síntesis

Heterogeneidades sin síntesis. Del hombre falible al doliente
Gabriel Aranzueque

Is it really possible to tell the suffered pain? What kind of storytelling could give an account of the uniqueness of the sorrow? The paper focuses on the description of the fragility of the human, as well as on the problems posed by the access to the symbolic field, in Paul Ricoeur’s theory. It particularly his notion of “plot” as described in Temps et récit: from the point of view of transitional justice processes, Ricoeur’s narrative seems unable to tell the singular person who suffers the pain, his irreducible difference and his possible – required maybe – silence.

Pain, sorrow, victim, narratives, history, silence.