Gianni Vattimo (born Turin, Italy, 1936) is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Turin and a member of the European Parliament. He studied in Turin under the existentialist Luigi Pareyson and graduated in 1959. After studying with Karl Löwith and Hans-Georg Gadamer in Heidelberg, he became assistant professor (1964) and later full professor of Aesthetics (1969), and finally full professor of Theoretical Philosophy (1982-2009) at the University of Turin, where he also served, in the Seventies, as dean of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy. He has been a visiting professor at several American universities (Yale, Los Angeles, New York University, State University of New York); he has led academic seminars and given lectures all around the world, and received many honorary degrees from numerous universities worldwide. Grand Officer of Merit of the Italian Republic (1997), member of the Accademia delle Scienze in Turin and former editor of «Rivista di Estetica», as well as member of the scientific committees of a number of international academic journals, Vattimo has been and still is a columnist of various Italian (La Stampa, l’Espresso, l’Europeo, Il Manifesto, l’Unità, Il Fatto quotidiano) and foreign (El País, El Clarín) newspapers.
His proposal of a post-metaphysical “weak thought” has made him a leading thinker in contemporary philosophy and a key figure of postmodernism. His works (including researches in ancient aesthetics – Il concetto di fare in Aristotele, 1961 –, avant-garde poetics – Poesia e ontologia, 1967 –, 19th- and 20th- centuries German philosophy (Essere, storia e linguaggio in Heidegger, 1963, Introduzione a Heidegger, 1971, Il soggetto e la maschera, 1974, Introduzione a Nietzsche, 1984, Dialogo con Nietzsche, 2001), hermeneutics and postmodernism (Le avventure della differenza, 1980, Il pensiero debole, 1983 – co-edited with Pier Aldo Rovatti –, La fine della modernità, 1985, La società trasparente, 1989, Etica dell’interpretazione, 1989, Oltre l’interpretazione, 1994, Nichilismo ed emancipazione, 2003, Addio alla verità, 2009) religion (Credere di credere, 1996, Dopo la cristianità, 2002, Il futuro della religione, 2005) and politics (Il socialismo ossia l’Europa, 2003, Ecce Comu, 2007), have been translated into several foreign languages. He has received a Gifford Lectures appointment in 2010 (University of Glasgow).
Former representative of Fuori (Italian Revolutionary Homosexual United Front) and of the national executive of the Homosexual Coordination group of the Italian “Democrats of the Left” party, Vattimo has been a member of the European Parliament between 1999 and 2004 (Pse group) and served as a member of the temporary committee on the “Echelon” satellite interception system. Re-elected to the European Parliament in 2009 (Alde group), he is currently vice-chair of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly. He is also vice-chair of the Academía da Latinidade, a non-governmental organisation for solidarity among Latin peoples and countries.
A Festschrift for Vattimo’s seventieth birthday was published in 2006 with the title Weakening Philosophy (edited by Santiago Zabala), including contributions from distinguished international philosophers such as Charles Taylor, Umberto Eco, Richard Rorty, Jean Luc-Nancy, Manfred Frank, Fernando Savater, and many others. Vattimo’s autobiography, Not Being God (co-authored with Piergiorgio Paterlini), has been published in 2006. Meltemi editore is currently publishing his Complete works (edited by Mario Cedrini, Alberto Martinengo and Santiago Zabala). His latest work is Hermeneutic Communism, 2011, co-authored with S. Zabala.
Vattimo’s many books include:
- The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Post-modern Culture, Translated by John R. Snyder, Polity Press, 1991
- The Transparent Society, Translated by David Webb, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994
- The Adventures of Difference: Philosophy after Nietzsche and Heidegger, Translated by Cyprian P. Blamires, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993
- Beyond Interpretation: The Meaning of Hermeneutics for Philosophy, Translated by David Webb, Stanford University Press, 1997
- Religion by Jacques Derrida, Edited by Gianni Vattimo, Translated by David Webb, Stanford University Press, 1998
- Belief, Translated by Luca d’Isanto and David Webb Polity Press, 1999
- Nietzsche: Philosophy as Cultural Criticism, Translated by Nicholas Martin, Stanford University Press, 2000
- After Christianity, Translated by Luca d’Isanto, Columbia University Press, 2002
- Nihilism and Emancipation: Ethics, Politics and Law, Edited by Santiago Zabala, Columbia University Press, 2004
- The Future of Religion, by Richard Rorty and Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Santiago Zabala, Columbia University Press, 2005
- After the Death of God, by John D. Caputo and Gianni Vattimo, Edited by Jeffrey W. Robbins, Columbia University Press, 2006
- Dialogue with Nietzsche, Translated by William McCuaig, Columbia University Press, 2006
- Art’s Claim to Truth, Edited by Santiago Zabala, Translated by Luca d’Isanto, Columbia University Press, 2008
- Not Being God: A Collaborative Autobiography, by Gianni Vattimo and Piergiorgio Paterlini, Translated by William McCuaig, Columbia University Press, 2009
- Christianity, Truth, and Weak Faith, by Gianni Vattimo and René Girard, Edited by P. Antonello, Translated by William McCuaig, Columbia University Press, 2010
- The Responsibility of the Philosopher, Edited by Franca D'Agostini, Translated by William McCuaig, Columbia University Press, 2010
- A Farewell to Truth, Translated by William McCuaig, Columbia University Press, 2011
- Hermeneutic Communism, by Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala, Columbia University Press, 2011