Justice

Simone Weil, a politics of the good for our age

(Conference) watch

Simone Weil (1909-1943) – philosopher, teacher in high schools and for factory workers, social activist, anarchistic-ranks soldier in Spain, manual worker in factories and farms, Résistence member, mystic – never wrote academic articles: the 16 volumes of her writings are an intellectual but personal expression of her social, political and spiritual deliberations and engagement, constituting a corpus of original, sober and subversive thought. Her influence is intensifying along the years, from Albert Camus who first published her posthumously and described her as “the only great spirit of our time”, up to her increasing presence in the words of contemporary politicians. A first Hebrew translation of a collection from her social and political writings is forthcoming in 2018, and in 30-31.10.2018 an international conference will be held at the Open University of Israel campus in Raanana on her thought and its relevance for the society and politics of our age from theoretical, comparative and historical perspectives. The conference will be tri-lingual, in Hebrew, French and English, with simultaneous translation between Hebrew and French.

Participants: Barbara Wolfer, Aviad Heifetz, Frederic Worms, Alexandra Feret, Jean Davienne, E. Jane Doering, Daniel Rosenberg, Pascal David, Denis Charbit, Robert Chenavier, Rita Fulco, and Christine Evans

Open University of Israel campus (Raanana) (2018)

Overlapping Consensus Thin and Thick: John Rawls and Simone Weil

Aviad Heifetz & Enrico Minelli read

John Rawls and Simone Weil presented two distinct conceptions of political justice, aimed at articulating a common ethos in an inherently heterogeneous society. The terms of the former, chiefly concerned with the distribution of primary goods, underwrite much of today’s Western democracy’s political liberalism. The terms of the latter, chiefly concerned with the way interaction is organized in social activities in view of the body and soul’s balancing pairs of needs, are less well known. We explain the sense in which the overlapping consensus in Weil’s notion of political justice is “thicker”, and may thus deserve more attention – alongside that of Rawls – for substantiating a democratic ethos within political liberalism.

Philosophical Investigations 39:4 October 2016, pp. 362-384

Simone Weil on Colonialism: An Ethic of the Other

J.P. Little, ed. & trans. read

In 1931, Simone Weil read an article by Louis Roubaud in the Petit Parisien that exposed the Yen Bay massacre in Indochina. That article opened Weil’s eyes, and from then until her death in exile in 1943, she cared most deeply about the French colonial situation. Weil refused to accept the contradiction between the image of France as a champion of the rights of man and the reality of France’s exploitation and oppression of the peoples in its territories.
Weil wrote thirteen articles or letters about the situation, writings originally published in French journals or in French collections of her work. J. P. Little’s fluid and clear translations finally introduce to English-speaking scholars and students this important element of Weil’s political consciousness.

J.P. Little, ed. & trans., New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003

J. P. Little, one of the world’s most respected scholars of Simone Weil, is the author of Simone Weil: Waiting on Truth and numerous articles and conference presentations on Weil’s life and work. She is lecturer in French (emerita) at St. Patrick’s College, Dublin.