Gianni Vattimo, a leading philosopher of the continental school,
has always resisted autobiography. But in this intimate memoir, the
voice of Vattimo as thinker, political activist, and human being
finds its expression on the page. With Piergiorgio Paterlini, a
noted Italian writer and journalist, Vattimo reflects on a lifetime
of politics, sexual radicalism, and philosophical exuberance in
postwar Italy. Turin, the city where he was born and one of the
intellectual capitals of Europe (also the city in which Nietzsche
went mad), forms the core of his reminiscences, enhanced by
fascinating vignettes of studying under Hans Georg Gadamer,
teaching in the United States, serving as a public intellectual and
interlocutor of Habermas and Derrida, and working within the
European Parliament to unite Europe.
Vattimo's status as a left-wing faculty president paradoxically
made him a target of the Red Brigades in the 1970s, causing him to
flee Turin for his life. Left-wing terrorism did not deter the
philosopher from his quest for social progress, however, and in the
1980s, he introduced a daring formulation called "weak thought,"
which stripped metaphysics, science, religion, and all other
absolute systems of their authority. Vattimo then became notorious
both for his renewed commitment to the core values of Christianity
(he was trained as a Catholic intellectual) and for the Vatican's
denunciation of his views.
Paterlini weaves his interviews with Vattimo into an utterly
candid first-person portrait, creating a riveting text that is
destined to become one of the most compelling accounts of
homosexuality, history, politics, and philosophical invention in
the twentieth century.
Subjects: Philosophy, History
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