Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


Hermeneutics and the crisis of universalism: from Nietzsche to Heidegger, from Vattimo to Laclau
Ermeneutica e crisi dell'universalismo: da Nietzsche a Heidegger, da Vattimo a Laclau

A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Giuseppe Stefano Azzarà Monday h. 13-14, teacher's office, Palazzo Albani, via Bramante 17

Assigned to the Degree Course

Educational Sciences (L-19)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The so-called hermeneutical turning point has introduced the primacy of interpretation into the philosophical debate and has radically criticized the fundamental axes and concepts of modern and Hegelian philosophy in particular. Starting from Nietzsche ("there are no facts but only interpretations") this deconstructive approach attitude will mature in Western philosophy and culture with Heidegger, until it explodes in the postmodern season, subverting consolidated approaches and orientations and intertwining with the great political transformations that have led to the affirmation and then to the crisis of democracy. In Italy, in particular, the main animator of this attitude was Gianni Vattimo, who at the failed attempt to move Nietzsche to the left combining it with historical materialism will soon respond with the transition to an organic theory of postmodernism based on the contestation of the metaphysical concept of truth. If this parable has accompanied on the cultural level the apogee of modern democracy, when the latter fully demonstrates its own crisis, Vattimo will undergo a massive rethinking of his thought, approaching the Marxian reflection on history and on the political-social conflict. This is the terrain of his meeting with Laclau and his postmodern theory of left-wing populism. The possibility of renewing or re-establishing the cultural categories of progressive thought starting from an encounter with the inspirers or the exponents of the conservative Revolution,  by many today suggested through the attempt to hybridize conceptual categories of right and left, is however very doubtful.

The course therefore pursues the following educational objectives:

- helping students to understand the fundamental concepts of philosophical hermeneutics laws in a critical perspective (subjective / objective; random / possible / necessary ...);

- help them to understand the complexity of the historical movement, its origin in the conflict between the social classes, the social conditioning of the readings that occur;

- help them to understand the left / right contrasts, particularism / universalism, and the way in which they condition the formation of modern democracy and its crisis but also the evolution and understanding of philosophy;

- help them to orient themselves in the contemporary political-cultural context starting from the theoretical elements learned (the successive inevitable mutations of each philosophical nucleus over time) and from their application to today's communicative contexts (TV, newspapers, social networks). 


1) Nietzsche today and yesterday;
2) Nietzsche and his time;
3) The birth of tragedy and politics;

4) Heidegger and the critique of modernity;

5) Heidegger with Nietzsche over Nietzsche;

6) Vattimo and Nietzsche: from existentialism to "revolutionary" Nietzsche;
7) From Marxism to weak thought;
8) Hermeneutics and postmodernism: Laclau;
9) Crisis of democracy, universalism, particularism.

Bridging Courses


Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

In relation to the discipline and its specific features the student will have to show:

Knowledge and understanding:
- Knowledge of the fundamental themes of postmodern hermeneutics exposed in class and deepened in textbooks and understanding of its fundamental concepts (see the Educational objectives);
- Knowledge of the historical and socio-political dynamics that act as a background to the hermeneutical philosophical turning point exposed to lectures and deepened in textbooks and understanding of the processes that have innervated them;
- Understanding of the constituent elements of the philosophical debate on hermeneutics and its political presuppositions;

Knowledge and understanding skills applied:
- Ability to orientate in the contemporary philosophical debate and to understand the elements that today can strengthen or further weaken the circulation of ideas and the free and democratic debate on a cultural level.

Making judgments (making judgments):
- Ability to take a stand on the basis of the main issues of the philosophical debate on hermeneutics and its historical-political assumptions (eg: truth and interpretation, objective and subjective / relative, universal and particular, reason and unconscious, etc. etc. ).

Communication skills:
Ability to communicate what has been learned in the forms suitable for a university-level study; ability to transmit and communicate the fundamental aspects and principles of the realistic and hermeneutical philosophical perspective also in basic educational work.

Ability to learn
- On the basis of the knowledge acquired through the course, the student must be able to autonomously construct courses of study and to understand which readings and experiences can help him in this sense.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Seminar held by dr. Giorgio Grimaldi (10 hours).

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons and seminar.



Course books

- Stefano G. Azzarà: Un Nietzsche italiano. Gianni Vattimo e le avventure dell'oltreuomo rivoluzionario, Manifestolibri, Roma 2011

- Stefano G. Azzarà: Nonostante Laclau, Mimesis, Milano 2017.

- Stefano G. Azzarà: testi su Heidegger forniti in pdf dal docente nella sezione Blended Learning.

- Giorgio Grimaldi: Oltre le tempeste d'acciaio. Tecnica e modernità in Heidegger, Juenger, Schmitt, Carocci, Roma 2015 (the relevant parts will be indicated by the teacher in the first days of the lesson)


The expected learning outcomes will be ascertained through an oral interview.
The test will refer to the texts in the program, to evaluate their knowledge, but also to the theses exposed in class by the teacher, to verify:

- knowledge of the philosophical issues and the topics dealt with;
- an understanding of the historical, social and political processes that underlie it;
- the ability to expose these acquired skills in a structured and personal way;
- the ability to argue independently in relation to the training objectives and expected learning outcomes (and therefore also to orient oneself in the problems of the present).

These aspects will be evaluated on the basis of a four-level scale of values / judgments (insufficient: less than 18, sufficient: 18-23, discrete: 24-26, good-excellent: 28-30).

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Non-attending students must support the same program as those attending, in particular by using the materials available on the Moodle platform and coordinating with the teacher and his assistants.



Course books

As for attending students.


As for attending students. For those not attending the test, however, will refer exclusively to the texts indicated in the educational program.



« back Last update: 23/07/2019


Questo contenuto ha risposto alla tua domanda?

Il tuo feedback è importante

Raccontaci la tua esperienza e aiutaci a migliorare questa pagina.

Se sei vittima di violenza o stalking chiama il 1522

Il 1522 è un servizio pubblico promosso dalla Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri – Dipartimento per le Pari Opportunità. Il numero, gratuito è attivo 24 h su 24, accoglie con operatrici specializzate le richieste di aiuto e sostegno delle vittime di violenza e stalking.

Posta elettronica certificata



Performance della pagina

Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo
Via Aurelio Saffi, 2 – 61029 Urbino PU – IT
Partita IVA 00448830414 – Codice Fiscale 82002850418
2021 © Tutti i diritti sono riservati