Vattimo and the possibilities of nihilistic ontology
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Gianni Vattimo's "nihilistic ontology" is immediately distinguished by its resolute anti-metaphysics. Thus, instead of what Vattimo construes as the definitive tropes of metaphysics, i.e., temporal permanence, necessity, foundationalism, etc., the possibility of nihilistic ontology must maintain a critical exigency regarding these tropes. According to this imperative, Vattimo seeks to equate nihilistic ontology with a hermeneutic ontology. This text examines this equation, attempting to separate the continuity between nihilism and hermeneutics, according to the latter's commitment to a variation of anthropocentrism evinced in concepts such as the effectivity of the particular content of a history, which in turn belies a nihilism that has posited history and man as contingent. Rather, what is at stake in a nihilistic ontology, consistent with Vattimo's reading, is a radically minimal ontology dedicated to the contingency of Being itself, thus excising the privileged ontological status of man that characterizes the hermeneutic ontology, a privileging analogous to the very metaphysical foundationalism that nihilism is to obviate.
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