War

The Actor & Scholar in Conversation: Simona Giurgea and E. Jane Doering on Simone Weil

Lewes Public Library event read

Simone Weil’s “The Iliad or the Poem of Force” is a profound exploration of the power of force and the hubris of mankind in attempting to control it to our advantage. Force is inherently destructive, and we risk it overwhelming us when we unleash it upon ourselves. This two-part essay, published in the Cahiers du Sud in 1940 – 41, is every bit as relevant today in all human interactions, from the interpersonal to the geopolitical.

Join us for a discussion of this piece by Professor Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and renowned Weil scholar Dr. E. Jane Doering and Simona Girugea, Senior Lecturer in of the University Theatre at Colgate University, who adapted this writing into a compelling one-woman dramatization (performed at the library on Friday, October 15). Hosted by Ron Collins, Senior Editor of ATTENTION. The discussion will probe this compelling essay in depth. The conversation will be followed by a reception sponsored ATTENTION.

E. Jane Doering is professor emerita of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame University. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 19th and 20th-century French literature and culture. She also holds a Masters of Education from Goucher College and an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Notre Dame, along with a Diplôme d’études from La Sorbonne, Paris. She received the Notre Dame Kaneb Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. Her books include When Fiction and Philosophy Meet: A Conversation with Flannery O’Connor and Simone Weil (2019), Simone Weil and the Specter of Self-perpetuating Force (2010), and The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil (2014). She has authored over three dozen articles in English, French, and Italian on the multi-dimensional thought of Simone Weil, and delivered numerous talks in the USA, Canada, France, Italy, and Israel. Her professional responsibilities include being a longstanding member in an advisory capacity of the American Weil Society and of the international Association pour l’étude de la pensée de Simone Weil. She is also on the board of advisors of ATTENTION.

Lewes Public Library, October 16, 2021

NOTE: this session is available to attend in-person or through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER and indicate which you prefer.

What is la force in Simone Weil’s Iliad?

D.K. Levy read

Weil’s essay on Homer’s Iliad contains a philosophical analysis of la force that divides it into two phenomena with one metaphysical ground. Her analysis is a corrective to misunderstandings of force as something that can be possessed. The first half of my elaboration of Weil’s analysis is devoted to the phenomena she identifies in relation to la force, which I call might. In the second half, I elaborate the varieties of misunderstanding of la force. First, might is an illusion sustained by the shared belief of those in submission to might. Second, forces, i.e. the material forces on which weaponry depends, cannot be possessed. Third, what lies behind material forces is necessity, a third meaning of la force, which functions as a superordinate or ultimate force to which everyone and everything is subject. Understanding the last of these is the corrective that Weil means to present.

Philosophical Investigations, vol. 43, nos. 1-2, pp. 8-18.