The Decline of certainty: on Gianni Vattimo's weak belief




Zielke, Dustin

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis argues that in order to demonstrate the possibility and sensibility of Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo's 'weak religious belief', it should be understood as the becoming uncertain of traditional, metaphysical (strong) belief. The difference between weak belief and strong belief can thereby be understood not as two distinct modes of belief, but as an event of weakening in the history of belief that has yet to be realized by those who believe with the support of metaphysical certainty. Since Vattimo aligns metaphysics with violence, and since he aligns traditional belief with metaphysics, to demonstrate and defend the possibility of Vattimo’s weak belief amounts to the reduction of violence in the world. However, the possibility and validity of weak belief has been called into question by thinkers such as Richard Rorty. In light of a review of the arguments and counter-arguments between Rorty and Vattimo, I argue that it is possible to distinguish weak belief from strong belief as long as this remains a weak distinction.



Weak Thought, Christianity, Richard Rorty, Religion, Philosophy of Religion, Martin Heidegger, Onto-theology, Secularization, Death of God, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ethics, Weak Distinction