"Weak thought" and the reduction of violence

Gianni Vattimo, Santiago Zabala, Yaakov Mascetti

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


In this interview Vattimo discusses with Zabala the possibility of a nihilist philosophy of law as an alternative to the idea of justice and the violence that predictably results from it. To make this substitution would involve the redirection of humanity away from its self-understanding as progressively approaching a metaphysical truth that is eternal and toward the acceptance of an already existing "polytheism of values," where truth is a contingent and changing product of discursiveness. A society that structures its legal system on what Vattimo terms "optimistic nihilism" would dismiss any urge for the unity and strength supposedly characteristic of monoculturalism and univocal values. Such cohesion as is possible must come from flexibility, responsiveness to contingency, and an openness to multivocal values. "To apply justice to human affairs," Vattimo argues, is no more than "to adjust things" as conditions change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-103
Number of pages12
JournalCommon Knowledge
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of '"Weak thought" and the reduction of violence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this