Written Commentaries

Select Comments by Rush Rhees on Weil

Rush Rhees

“I always hope I may come to understand her remarks better. But this would take character (what she would call purity, perhaps) as well as intelligence, which I do not have; and what I ‘understand’ is mostly dim guessing.

I do not think all her remarks (about death, for instance) would be quite compatible with one another, though it is easy to be stupefied about this. And if they are not, I do not think this matters; it is what you would expect.”

Rush Rhees

“. . . . Simone Weil sometimes seems to say that the existence of any human (or other) creature has no positive value, or even that it is an evil (an affront against God?). But she was not able to hold to this, for instance, when she was concerned with lives other than her own, as she generally was. Or even in much of what she says of beauty — of the beauty of a mortal and fragile existence, like that of cherry blossoms, for instance.”

Source: Rush Rhees, edited by D.Z. Phillips (assisted by Mario von der Ruhr), Discussions of Simone Weil, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press (2000), 164, 165

Rush Rhees (1905-1989) taught at the University of Wales, Swansea, for twenty-six years and became Honorary Professor after his retirement. He is the author of Without Answers (1969); Discussions of Wittgenstein (1970); On Religion and Philosophy (1997); Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse (1998); and Moral Questions (1999).


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