Gianni Vattimo

Italian philosopher and politician

Gianteresio Vattimo (4 January 193619 September 2023) was an Italian philosopher and politician.

ianni Vattimo (1999)


  • I grew up as a Catholic militant; when I was a boy I used to read authors like Jacques Maritain, Emmanuel Mounier and novelists like Bernanos. But Catholic inspiration led me also to read authors that were heretical to the modern tradition. I didn’t like rationalistic historicism that came from Enlightenment, peaking in Hegel and Marx.
  • Someone said that it is important — you cannot live without it — exactly because it is useless. As Heidegger put it in a famous sentence: "Science doesn't think" — precisely because it is useful, it works toward goals that it doesn’t choose. In Kantian terms, science deals with phenomena, factual data that it receives according to reason’s frames, organizes them in time and space, expresses them mathematically, connects and measures them in various ways. But Kant says that there is the noumenon beyond the phenomenon: what you can think but is phenomenologically unknown. It is part of what Kant calls the "Kingdom of Ends". In this kingdom you encounter freedom; that is something impossible to know phenomenologically. The same goes for the existence of God. In philosophy, there are higher questions that usually don’t have an answer because they do not concern phenomenal data, the way science does. This is the source of a peculiar feeling of uselessness and void-ness about philosophy. But we cannot live without it if we don’t want to become machines or robots.

"Only Weak Communism Can Save Us" (2013)

"Only Weak Communism Can Save Us", by Ian Angus, MR Online, January, 5, 2013
  • Stalin imposed the development of heavy industry against agriculture and thence the displacement of people, the sacrifices, the deaths... A crazy dream! But... without the Stalinist industrial force, the Nazis would have won!
  • Soviet communism and Western capitalism share the same crazy ideology: forced industrialization of society.
  • I am Christian, therefore I am communist. The first Christian communities were very communist... except that they were expecting the immediate end of the world.
  • I propose hermeneutic communism: non-dogmatic communism, weak communism. Only this can save us. [Is is] without essences, without absolutes to be realized at all costs. It is only an ideal of equitable society, a society that progressively weakens violence like dialectics.
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