Of Reality: The Purposes of Philosophy

Hardcover | March 15, 2016

byGianni VattimoTranslated byRobert T. Valgenti

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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.

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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 ...

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 ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:March 15, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231166966

ISBN - 13:9780231166966

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. The Leuven Lectures1. The Nietzsche Effect2. The Heidegger Effect3. The Age of the World PicturePart II. Intermission4. The Temptation of RealismPart III. The Gifford Lectures5. Tarski and the Quotation Marks6. Beyond Phenomenology7. Being and Event8. The Ethical Dissolution of RealityPart IV. Appendix9. Metaphysics and Violence: A Question of Method10. From Heidegger to Marx: Hermeneutics as the Philosophy of Praxis11. The End of Philosophy in the Age of Democracy12. True and False Universalism13. The Evil That Is Not, 114. The Evil That Is Not, 215. Weak Thought, Thought of the Weak16. From Dialogue to ConflictNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

An engaging and refreshing read for any serious student of philosophy.