domenica 17 luglio 2011

A review of "Farewell to Truth" - una recensione di "Addio alla verità"

Dal sito

Et cetera: non-fiction roundup – reviews
Steven Poole -, Friday 15 July 2011 22.55 BST

A Farewell to Truth, by Gianni Vattimo, translated by William McCuaig (Columbia, £17)

A more nuanced treatment, here, of the social construction of reality: the inaccessibility of any perspectiveless truth that is not "produced" by human practices does not imply, the author warns, that "anything goes"; instead, it obliges us to come to reasoned agreement. "If there were an objective truth to social and economic laws," Vattimo points out with a twinkle, "democracy would be an utterly irrational choice." Therefore, he suggests, we must bid farewell to "truth" in order to proceed in freedom.

In this dense but spryly provocative work, leaning mainly on Heidegger and Nietzsche, Vattimo – both a philosopher and a member of the European parliament – reclaims "nihilism" as a positive guiding spirit for our time, in an age where the "death of metaphysics" is widely acknowledged, yet leaders still appeal to "absolutes" to justify wars. Despairing of the Catholic church, our "enslavement" to "electronic media", and analytic philosophy, Vattimo bets everything on what he sees as the central Christian ideal of "charity", translatable also as Richard Rorty's "solidarity". Both require, as the book's lovely final image has it, that we keep an eye on "a more distant future that we can never really forget".

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