Political Philosophy

The Developmental Stages of Simone Weil’s Political Philosophy: From Pacifism to a Justification of Force

Ian J.D. Baker read

Maynooth University (Ireland), MA

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.