Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Robert Westmoreland

Second Advisor

Steven Skultety

Third Advisor

Bryan Smyth

Relational Format



In this thesis, I will evaluate the relationship between the liberal political philosophy of John Rawls and the hermeneutical nihilism of the Italian philosopher and politician Gianni Vattimo. I will argue for congeniality as the best characterization of this relationship. In the first chapter, I will briefly describe the political philosophy of Rawls, highlighting those ideas which will be especially relevant to the following chapters. In the second chapter, I will detail the ideas of hermeneutical nihilism as put forth by Gianni Vattimo, consider the areas of intersection of this philosophical view with that of Rawls, and argue for congeniality on the basis of these intersections. In the third chapter, I will examine the potential compatibility of the two philosophies, though I ultimately conclude that compatibility is an inaccurate representation of their relationship. Finally, I conclude that the relationship between Rawlsian political liberalism and Vattimo’s hermeneutical nihilism is one of congeniality.

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