Hermeneutic Communism: Left Heideggerianism’s Last Hope?
Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala’s Hermeneutic Communism: From Heidegger to Marxrepresents the most recent—and perhaps the most provocative—attempt to harness a reactionary, conservative philosophy for politically progressive ends. Until now, such forced marriages have ended only in divorce. Like thinkers ranging from Herbert Marcuse to, more recently, Richard Rorty and Peter Sloterdijk, Vattimo and Zabala are forced to admit that irreconcilable differences loom on the horizon of their project. Nevertheless, their book offers a suggestive reimaging of the tradition of “Left Heideggerianism,” which makes it perhaps even more relevant than before. But will rescuing Heidegger for the Left will help to rescue us from the relentless march of global capitalism? This essay explores “Left Heideggerianism” as an intellectual tradition, and asks how, when, and why philosophy should intervene in politics.