Santiago Zabala

Santiago Zabala

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I was raised in Rome, Vienna, and Geneva and studied philosophy at the University of Turin and at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome, where I obtained my PhD in 2006. The following year I was awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Potsdam for two years. After a visiting scholarship in 2010 at Johns Hopkins University, I was appointed ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona. Since 2015 I am ICREA Research Professor at Pompeu Fabra University, where I currently teach contemporary and political philosophy and supervise PhD students. I am also the founding director of the "UPF Center for Vattimo’s Archives and Philosophy." My writing has appeared in The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Research interests

My research focuses in three areas each of which has generated several authored and edited books and journals special issues. These areas are political, social, and aesthetic Continental Philosophy. I study each of these following the hermeneutic principle according to which Being is not an objective entity that philosophy must describe but rather the effect of interpretations. Following the work of Gadamer, Vattimo, and Rorty, I emphasize the ontological and political nature of hermeneutics in order to demonstrate the danger of dogmatic beliefs for religious and political practices. My next books and essays will explore “fake news” and “post-truth” in this so-called age of alternative facts to argue, as Bruno Latour said, that “facts remain robust only when they are supported by a common culture, by institutions that can be trusted, by a more or less decent public life, by more or less reliable media.”

Selected publications

Zabala S 2019, “Tugendhat” and “Vattimo” in The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon” edited by Mendieta E & Allen A, Cambridge University Press, pp. 698-699 and 700-702.

– (Zabala, series editor) Gutiérrez Aguilar R (ed.) Predicar con el ejemplo Ser y deber (de) ser en lo público. Bellaterra, Barcelona, 2019.

Selected research activities

Research Group: This year the 1st International Workshop of the UPF Center for Vattimo’s Archives and Philosophy took place with the participation of scholars from Italy, Canada, and Spain. The impact of the group is evident not only in the publications that have emerged from the group’s activities but also in the various visitors from China, Italy, South and North America have visited the center and participated in seminars throughout the year. This year another student (Gabriel Serbu) has defended his PhD thesis on Vattimo.

Series Editor: I am the coeditor, along with Adrian Parr, of a new book series for McGill-Queen’s University Press titled “Outspoken,” which will release two volumes per year starting in 2020. I also continue to edit for the Spanish publisher Bellaterra Publishers the series Political Philosophy, which has released so far a total of eleven titles since 2010.

Media Outreach: My opinion articles in media outlets and journals such as the New York TimesLa Stampa, AraAl-Jazeera, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aeon, La Maleta de Portbou are meant not only to communicate my philosophical findings to a wider audience but also to stir political and cultural debates. This activity also takes place through my collaboration with cultural centers, such as Escola Europea d’Humanitats and the CCCB, where I participate in seminars and recommend guest speakers.