Philosophy Today

Volume 60, Issue 3, Summer 2016

Wolfgang Sützl
Pages 743-759

Gianni Vattimo’s Media Philosophy and Its Relevance to Digital Media

In La società trasparente (1989), Vattimo places the “relative chaos” of the mass media at the heart of his understanding of postmodernity as an epoch of the weakening of being. The consequent decline of strong foundations for political authority was part of Vattimo’s emancipatory reading of the media. In the second edition of the book (2000) he claims that such postmodern emancipation is limited by a lack of conflictuality in the aesthetic ideals promoted by the free market. In this article, I ask howVattimo’s media philosophy anticipates elements of his more recent political philosophy. Reading Vattimo against Heidegger and Byung-Chul Han, I conclude that his insistence on the nihilistic origins of hermeneutics may offer a way of criticizing the lacking conflictuality in current digital media in a fashion that does not desire a return to ultimate truth claims.