Abstract: Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil were two of the most compelling political thinkers of the 20th century who, despite having similar life-experiences, developed radically distinct political philosophies. This unique dialogue between the writings of Arendt and Weil highlights Arendt’s secular humanism, her emphasis on heroic action, and her rejection of the moral approach to politics, contrasted starkly with Weil’s religious approach, her faith in the power of divine Goodness, and her other-centric ethic of suffering and affliction.
The writings here respect the profound differences between Arendt and Weil whilst pulling out the shared preoccupations of power, violence, freedom, resistance, responsibility, attention, aesthetics, and vulnerability. Without shying away from exploring the more difficult concepts in these philosophers’ works, Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil also aims to pull out the relevance of their writings for contemporary issues.
- Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil: Political Thinkers in Dialogue (Bloomsbury Academic, Feb. 22, 2024)
About the editors
- Kathryn Lawson is a Researcher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. She contributes to the online archive project on Simone Weil, Attention, and is the author of several book chapters on continental philosophy, religion and Arendt and Weil.
- Joshua Livingstone is a Researcher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is author of a forthcoming book chapter on Hannah Arendt.
- Additional references to works on Weil and Arendt can be found here.
In this book, Benjamin P. Davis demonstrates how Simone Weil’s Marxism challenges current neoliberal understandings of the self and of human rights. Explaining her related critiques of colonialism and of political parties, it presents Weil as a twentieth-century political philosopher who anticipated and critically responded to the most contemporary political theory.
Simone Weil’s short life (1909–1943) is best understood as deeply invested in and engaged with the world around her, one she knew she would leave behind sooner rather than later if she continued to take risks on the side of the oppressed.
In this important and timely book, Davis presents Simone Weil first and foremost as a political philosopher. To do so, he places Weil’s political writings in conversation with feminist philosophy, decolonial philosophy, aesthetic theory, human rights discourse, and Marxism. Against the backdrop of Weil’s commitments, Davis reads Weil explicitly into debates in contemporary Critical Theory. Davis argues that in the battles of today, we urgently need to reconnect with Simone Weil’s ethical and political imagination, which offers a critique of oppression as part of a deeper attention to the world.
In this moving account of Simone Weil’s political thought, Benjamin Davis merges world history and personal testimony, theory and living, brain and heart. He shows that one’s scholarship and one’s life cannot be separated easily.
— Christy Wampole, Princeton University
About the Author
Benjamin P. Davis is a postdoctoral fellow in ethics at the University of Toronto. Davis’s scholarship is in the areas of human rights, Decolonial Theory, and Caribbean Philosophy. He has articles published or forthcoming in The CLR James Journal, The Journal of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, and Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development. He is also Vice President of the American Weil Society.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (March 15, 2023 / 184 pp) (link here).
This important new study examines the work of Simone Weil; French mystic, social philosopher, and activist in the French Resistance in the Second World War. Weil’s posthumously published works had a major influence on French and English social thought. Philosophy for Darker Times relates Weil’s insights to specific significant issues in our own time.
Ethics International Press, Inc (June 15, 2022)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The God of Philosophy and the God of Religion Debate Revisited
Chapter 2 Plato’s Philosophy Manifested in Simone Weil’s life and her Writings
Chapter 3 ‘Scale Relative Ontology’ as a way of understanding Simone Weil’s treatment of Scientific Activity
Chapter 4 Nothing, Mysticism and three dimensions in ‘Scale Relative Ontology’
Chapter 5 Simone Weil’s Mysticism understood through Apophatic Theology
Chapter 6 Intentionalism and ‘God’s Fiction’
Appendix I Five Scientific Metaphysical Stances in relation to the Standard Model of Quantum Theory
Appendix II On the Relationship between Simone Weil’s and Hannah Arendt’s Philosophies
Appendix III The Stumbling Block: The Rationality Problem
About the author
Noel Boulting studied at the London Institute of Education, Birkbeck College, London, and the London School of Economics He has taught philosophy at Universities in the in the UK and USA. His philosophy club, NOBOSS, was formed in 1977, and meets at the University of Kent, UK. His publications include articles on C. S. Peirce, Edward Bullough, Thomas Hobbes, Aldo Leopold, Jean Paul Sartre, Simone Weil, Vico, Max Horkheimer and the Aesthetics of Nature. His writings on Weil include:
- “Necessity, “Transparency, and Fragility in Simone Weil’s Conception of Ultimate Reality and Meaning,” Ultimate Reality & Meaning, vol. 22, no. 3 (Sept. 1999), pp. 223-246.
- “The God of Religion and the God of Philosophy Debate Revisited,” Process Studies, vol. 50, no. 1 (2021), pp. 88-106.
- “Intentionalism and God’s Fiction,” Journal of Cultural & Religious Theory, vol. 20, no. 2 (Spring 2021)