weak thought

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A label applied to the work of Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo. Although Vattimo adopted this description of his thought, his own term for what he is trying to do in his work is in fact ‘weak ontology’. He derives the idea of a weak ontology from his reading of Martin Heidegger and Heidegger's student Hans-Georg Gadamer, whose key work he translated into Italian. On Vattimo's reading of Heidegger there is a profound separation between language and reality; language on this view can at best convey an interpretation of reality, but never the thing itself. Hence it is a ‘weak’ not ‘strong’ ontology. But in contrast to a number of other philosophers in the postmodern anti-foundation tradition, Vattimo does not interpret this state of being as a crisis for metaphysics. He sees it rather as a challenge to develop a more rigorous process of interpretation.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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