Written Commentaries

Peter Winch on Simone Weil

Ronald KL Collins

Praise for Winch’s “The Just Balance”

One of the very best scholarly works on the philosophy of Simone Weil was by the late Peter Winch (1926-1997). That book, of course, was Simone Weil: “The Just Balance” (Cambridge University Press, 1989). Winch also edited Simone Weil: Lectures on Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 1978), and in 1972 reviewed Weil’s Notebooks.

Peter Winch

“Practically every page of this book is full of intriguing and discussable material, based as it is on an exemplary thoroughness and care in thinking Weil’s thoughts after her. . . I hope it will be the harbinger of a new generation of Weil scholarship that will take us beyond the narrowly ‘edifying’ – while not allowing us to lose sight, as Winch does not allow us to, of the inseparability of Weil’s reflection from the basic questions of political morality.”

Rowan Williams, Philosophical Investigations, vol. 14, no. 2 (April 1991), pp. 155-171.

“Peter Winch was a philosopher of broad interests, as at home in Kierkegaard as he was in Wittgenstein. In 1989 he published The Just Balance, a pioneering study of the work of the remarkable French thinker Simone Weil, in which he showed parallel concerns in philosophical movements thought to be far apart.”

D. Z. Phillips, Philosophical Investigations, vol.  20, no. 4  (October 1997), pp. 287-289.

“This is the best philosophical book we have on Simone Weil … [I]t’s argumentative plan and its “readding” of Weil are clearly in the right direction for comprehending this important thinker.”

Richard H. Bell, Religious Studies, vol. 26, no. 1 (Mar., 1990), pp. 166-175.

Book now available at 30% discount

Though Winch’s book is still in print, its cost (on all the various online book platforms) is rather prohibitive.  Thankfully, Professor Mario von der Ruhr was able to persuade the publisher to offer a 30% discount until December 21, 2022. Visit Cambridge University Press online bookstore and enter Winch2021 at the checkout. 

More on Winch forthcoming

More, much more, will be said about Peter Winch and his remarkable book in this Journal. Additionally, plans are currently underway to have a panel on Winch and his as part of the 2022 American Weil Society colloquy. Stay tuned!

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