Santiago Zabala

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


Santiago Zabala was raised in Rome, Vienna, and Geneva. He studied philosophy at the University of Turin and at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome where he obtained his PhD in 2006. The following year Zabala was awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Potsdam. After spending the spring semester of 2010 as a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, Zabala has been appointed ICREA Research Professor at the Pompeu Fabra University, where he currently teaches  contemporary and political philosophy, supervises Ph.D. students and directs the UPF Center for Vattimo’s Archives and Philosophy. In addition to an extensive speaking schedule at conferences, seminars, and art Biennales, Zabala is also visiting professor at Renmin University, IDSVA, and several other international institutions.

Research interests

Zabala's research focus in three areas each of which have generated several authored and edited books and Journals: ontology, political philosophy, and aesthetics. All these three areas are studied following the hermeneutic principle according to which truth is not an objective goal that philosophy must submit to, but rather the effect of the conflict of interpretations. Following the work of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Gianni Vattimo Zabala has emphasized the ontological nature of hermeneutics in order to demonstrate the danger of truth impositions for religious and political emancipation. The problem of emergency has been at the center of his research this past years in relation to politics, society, and art. His next books, essays, and articles will be on the problem of freedom in this age of so called alternative facts to demostrate, once again, how there are no facts, but only interpretations as Nietzsche once said. 

Selected publications

- Zabala A 2017, Why Only Art Can Save Us: Aesthetics and the Absence of EmergencyNew York: Columbia University Press, 220pp

- Vattimo G, Zabala S, et al. 2017, Making Communism Hermeneutica: Reading Vattimo and ZabalaMazzini S & Glyn-Williams O (Eds), with contributions from W. Egginton, B. Babich and many others. Springer Verlag.

- Zabala S 2017, 'Introduction to the Special Issue: On Philosophical Education', in Special Issue: On Philosophical Education edit by Zabala S in Philosophy Today, Volume 61, Issue 2, 267-280.

- Zabala S 2017 (editor of series) György Lukács, Falsa y autentica ontologia de Hegel. Bellaterra. Barcelona.

- Zabala S (Ed) 2017, 'Special Issue: On Philosophical Education" in "Philosophy Today", Volume 61, Issue 2, with contributions from J. Butler, G. Vattimo, and others.

- Zabala S 2017, 'Анархија на херменевтиката', (translated in Macedonian of "Anarchy of Hermeneutics") in "IDENTITIES - Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture", vol. 13, pp: 19-36.

- Zabala S & Vattimo G 2017, 'Nihilismo a la (Union) Europea', in ¿Donde Vas, Europa?, editores, M. Seguro and D. Innerarity. Barcelona: Herder, 197-202.

- Zabala S (editor of series) 2017 Salvador López Arnal, Siete historias lógicas y un cuento breve. Bellaterra, Barcelona.

Selected research activities


- S. Zabala (co-author) 17 "Replies" (with Gianni Vattimo) in S. Mazzini and O. Glyn-Williams, Making Communism Hermeneutica: Reading Vattimo and Zabalal, with contributions from W. Egginton, B. Babich and many others. Springer Verlag, 2017.

- S. Zabala (author) "Turning to Art's Demands," in e-flux, June 16th 2017.

- “Richard Rorty: Life, Pragmatism, and Conversational Philosophy,” in The Los Angeles Review of Books, 22nd July, 2017.