1) The world of knowledge has become so complex that the existence of a science that would sustain all the others in a unitary fundamental way is unthinkable.
2) There is a strong specialization of the spheres of existence;
3) The means of mass communication bring us in continuous contact with other cultures and it is always more difficult to reduce everything to only one matrix;
4) The evidence does not have to be considered as a sign of truth, for the reason that it is produced by customs, social pressures, conventions, and plays of language.
The philosopher from Turin is convinced that the contemporaneous philosophy, following Nitzsche and nihilism, presents itself as thought without foundations, as reflection which is not anchored anymore on the solid bases of metaphysics and on the Cartesian certainty. The period of the systems and of the strong ideologies has set: this the epoch of week structures. Reason is not central anymore, it is as if it had lost its power, it has entered in a dark zoned and has taken therefore unclear contours, just as if it had eclipsed. The pilaster of "pensiero debole" (weak taught) is built on the idea that man interprets the world within linguistics horizons, not fixed but historical. In the light of these presuppositions, what gets dissolved is:
1) The fundamentals which are certain;
2) The idea of a total knowledge of the world;
3) The idea of a truth that is certain and of which we are not capable to reach.
"Pensiero debole" (weak taught) , in a few words, means that the foundational concept of philosophy has consumed itself, the ultimate foundations, the incontrovertible principles, the clear and distinct ideas, the absolute values, the primary evidence, and the ineluctable laws of history have dissolved. In conclusion, the image of rationality changes with the "pensiero debole" (weak thought), it must loose power, give up terrain without fear of retreating, become not paralyzed by the loss of the luminous Cartesian reference which has been unique and stable. This is how we start with a loss and a renouncement: renouncement of fundamentals which are certain and of ultimate destinies. Such renouncement is also the abandonment of an obligation, the removal of an obstacle. The "pensiero debole" (weak thought) is near to the "pietas" of the past; in the present, it gives attention to those sectors of the human experience which have walked over by a totalitarian view; in the future, the containment of the "pensiero forte" (strong thought) will serve to contrast violence and to construct a space always more ample to the truth, to the tolerance, and to the rapports with the other cultures. The "pensiero debole" (weak thought) is also the end of modernity, of that period that goes from Descartes to Nietzsche and which is dominated by the "idea-forza" (idea-strength) of human progress. As a matter of fact, modernity views history as a process of progressive emancipation in which man appears capable of a more and more perfect realization of his nature and an exercise always richer of his faculties. Modern man is distinguished by trust in himself as creator and protagonist of a new advanced civilization more democratic of any preceding epoch and in constant movement towards additional goals. The "idea forza" (idea-strength) of modernity is therefore a kind of progress, intended as an orientation towards a model of life and action, as an aspiration to ultimate values, founded on the capability of man to exercise reason. Vattimo, for some time now, has defined with the expression "pensiero debole" (weak thought) his philosophical positions, even though in the last few years he prefers to designate them with the term "ermeneutica", with the intent to place them in what he has often defined as the new "koine' " of our times: that is the postmodern philosophical culture, derived from the legacy of Nietzsche and Heidegger and which has found shelter and more depth in Gadamer, Ricoeur, Rorty, and Derrida. Vattimo, relevant exponent of the "ermeneutica" of today and strongly influenced by the thought of Martin Heidegger and of Friedrich Nietzsche, is of the opinion that the overcoming of philosophy leads to the ethics of the interpretation. Philosophy becomes "pensiero debole" (weak thought) because it abandons its foundational role and the truth ceases to be an adaptation to the thought of reality, but it is played as continuous interpretation. There exist, therefore, various reasons that contrast the pretenses of the foundational philosophy, but the reason of more weight is actually given by the "ermeneutica", art and technique of the interpretation that considers the rapport between language and existence. To exist means to live in relation to a world and this relationship is made possible by the fact that there is a language at our disposal. Things grow in existence only within linguistic horizons which are not eternal but which are qualified historically. Even language is not an eternal structure. Man is thrown into these linguistic horizons, he read and interprets existence and he relates to them. However, since they are temporal horizons, that are not eternal, it is clear that all pretenses of discourse or of eternal and absolute theories on God, on man, on the sense of history or on the destiny of humanity, disappear. Man finds himself always thrown into a project, in a language, in a culture which he inherits. Man opens himself to the world with the language that he speaks. To recur to these linguistic overtures, which allow a vision of the world, means to reflect and come to know of the multiplicity of prospectives and of cultural universes. Since the "pensiero debole" (weak thought) is the end of the stable structure of the existence, it is also the end of every possible way of enunciating that God exists or not. Nietzsche cry "Dio e' morto" (God is dead) is intended by Vattimo in the sense of the end of any metaphysical discourse that pretends to give us truths that are ultimate and definite. Truth becomes the transmission of a linguistic and historical patrimony which renders possible and gives an orientation to the comprehension of the world. In brief, modernity sees history as progress guided by laws that are meant to overcome. But, if for modernity, history is progress, a process of continuous overcoming, then the "pensiero debole" (weak thought) is the postmodern and the end of history. The postmodernity of Lyotard is of the end of the millennium and is characterized by the inadequacy of the great ideologies (illuminism, idealism, and Marxism) which formed the basis of the social cohesion and of the revolutionary utopias ("La condizione postmoderna" (The postmodern condition), 1979). It is the task of the philosopher, confronted by a human condition which has profoundly changed, to find criteria of judgment which have social and circumscribed values that have no pretenses of being global or total The increase of the means of communication does not render society more transparent, more conscious of itself, more enlightened: the mass media tend to reproduce what happens in real time, multiplying the complexity of reality instead of reducing it. The philosopher from Turin sees in the metaphor of the transparency the weakening of the existence, the ontology of the decline, the breaking through of reality and of every link that pretends to go beyond appearance. Simulation, faking, artificiality, superficiality of appearances show themselves shamelessly in place of true fundamentals, in place of the foundation. The thesis of Vattimo is that in this relative chaos lie our hopes of emancipation. The lack of transparency is a phenomenon to combat; on the contrary, it the symptom of a great turnabout, which includes the entire scope of the existence: the liberation of the minorities (punks, women, homosexuals, blacks …. ) and the creation of a new soulfulness: a daily experience with a more fluid character which acquires the traits of oscillation, of footlessness, and of play. In the visual arts, in architecture, and in literature, we currently speak of post-modern to indicate a style that now distances itself from the dominant ideas of modernity. This, perhaps for the first time, appears to be a unitary phenomenon that, besides having a beginning, is on its way to conclusion. Vattimo in "La fine della modernita" (The end of modernity) (1991) declares that today we measure the distance from modernity above all in reference to one of its dominant ideals: that of progress, of the overcoming of criticism and, in the arts, of the avant-garde movements. But the phenomenon of the end of the modern epoch, if it has a goal, it has also social, economic, religious, and philosophical consequences ( they have talked for some time of a post-industrial era and that we are a post-Christian culture). Modernity declares closed an epoch anchored to the faith in the continuous progress of humanity which had embraced again, popularizing it, the Christian idea of salvation. It is the end of every philosophy in history that is of every unitary and compact vision of history, just as it possessed sense. The end of modernity opens a new phase however, a phase based on listening and on attention to that which, under the strong light of reason and history, could not be discerned or in any case it was unintelligible. It is a phase that starts to open and to communicate with "culture altre" (other cultures), and it characterized by a more tolerant and pacific vision of human coexistence.