Pensare l’ebraismo: Jacques Maritain e Simone Weil (Italian Edition) Kindle Edition (Feb. 2022), Emanuele Pili, University of Perugia
Abstract in translation
Against the backdrop of the Second World War, Jacques Maritain and Simone Weil reflected deeply on the nature and relevance of Judaism. If Maritain imagined an unprecedented relationship with Christianity, reading the (in) fidelity of Israel in a Pauline way, Weil hoped for a purification of the West from inauthentic cultural traditions, of which Judaism participated in large part, in search of those ties that preserve the ‘human.’
Emanuele Pili originally interprets two very different souls but united by a strong sense of political responsibility, which led to a commitment to fight against totalitarianism. The first Italian translation of the bases for a statute of French minorities appears in the appendix; it is is one of the most controversial texts in the entire body of works by Simone Weil.
Abstract: Edith Stein and Simone Weil both trained as Red Cross nurses for wartime service. For both philosophers, the activity of a nurse demands empathic attention to the afflicted. Stein envisions herself as an attendant nurse in her memoirs; Weil similarly casts herself in a nurse’s role in her proposal for an elite, sacrificial nurses’ corps. This essay examines the practice of wartime nursing as a school for, and an expression of, their complementary philosophies of human beings seen in their physical, epistemological, and spiritual interrelatedness.
Journal of Continental Philosophy (Feb. 23, 2022)
Ann W. Astell is a professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
Peter Winch believed that the central task of philosophy was to investigate ‘the force of the concept of reality’ in human practices. This involved creative dialogue with critical metaphysics. In ‘Ceasing to Exist’, Winch considered what it means to judge that something unheard-of has happened. Referring to Wittgenstein, Winch argued that judgments concerning reality must relate our observations to a shared ‘flow of life’. This implies criticism of the form of epistemology associated with metaphysical realism. Just as, according to Wittgenstein, a sentence has no fixed meaning in isolation — an observation does not constitute knowledge outside shared human practices.
Philosophical Investigations, 5 Jan. 2022
Based on the study of the writings of Simone Weil and Etty Hillesum during the Second World War, this article intends to identify the characteristics of an unprecedented moment in the history of mysticism where the experience of God’s presence is irreducibly associated with the ordeal of his absence in the events of this world. If this link between the experience of absence and that of presence echoes the classic image of John of the Cross’s “dark night”, its conceptualisation in both Simone Weil and Etty Hillesum reveals two emerging features that break with the earlier mystical tradition. On the one hand, the ordeal of absence is no longer experienced as a purifying punishment inflicted by God himself, but rather as the ordeal of contemporary reality where God is recognised as the Absent One “par excellence”. On the other hand, the experience of presence does not put an end to that of absence, so that one can speak of the concomitance of the absence and the presence of God in the mystical experience of the 20th century.
The Platonic tradition affords extraordinary resources for thinking about the meaning and value of work. In this historical survey of the tradition, Jeffrey Hanson draws on the work of its major thinkers to explain why our contemporary vocabulary for appraising labor and its rewards is too narrow and cramped. By tracing out the Platonic lineage of work Hanson is able to argue why we should be explaining its value for appraising it as an element of a happy and flourishing human life, quite apart from its financial rewards.
Beginning with Plato’s extensive thinking about work’s relationship to wisdom, Hanson covers the singularly powerful arguments of Augustine, who wrote the ancient world’s only treatise dedicated to the topic of manual labor. He discusses Bernard of Clairvaux, introduces the priest-craftsman Theophilus Presbyter, and provides a study of work and leisure in the writings of Petrarch. Alongside Martin Luther, Hanson discusses John Ruskin and Simone Weil: two thinkers profoundly disturbed by the conditions of the working class in the rapidly industrializing economies of Europe.
This original study of Plato and his inheritors’ ideas provides practical suggestions for how to approach work in a socially responsible manner in the 21st century and reveals the benefits of linking work and morality. — Jeffrey Hanson is a Senior Philosopher in The Human Flourishing Program at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.
Bloomsbury Academic (April 21, 2022)
This paper examines the figure of silence in the works of Michel Serres and Simone Weil. It argues that, in the spirit of Serres and Weil, our time of crisis calls not for a short-term response, but for long-term engagement in a dialectics of silence: the dialogical movement between the silencing of institutions and the attentive silence of visionary insights. Such dialectics can revalidate the value of institutional silencing if based on solid rational proof (rebutting so-called visionary ideas that are baseless) while simultaneously showing the value of visionary ideas that rightfully combat problematic institutional silencing. Especially in this current moment, in which science and scientific propositions are relentlessly questioned, there is a need to lean into silence so as to promote a productive dialogue that regains trust in proven scientific ideas and institutions while allowing visionary insights their place as well, provided that we are willing to test them.
Research in Phenomenology, vol. 52, no. 2 (2022), pp. 183-202.
Marjolein Oele is a professor of philosophy at the University of San Francisco.
The writings of Simone Weil and Jacques Ellul include sociological, philosophical, and religious themes, and the two intellectuals serve as “bookends” surrounding the postmodern era. The writers were prolific, respectively, during the time between the World Wars (Weil), and the late 20th century’s Information Age (Ellul). They each dealt with the impact of modernity on humans, further exploring the implications of Weber’s definition of moderns as “sensualists without heart and specialists without spirit.”
Weil and Ellul had prescient insights on a contemporary trend, namely an unbridled faith in technology, or what Ellul called “technique,” looming large. Ellul and Weil both present a case for how the method of the technological imagination undermines basic needs and obligations for human beings. Alan Jacobs’ text discusses both Weil and Ellul in this light. For Weil the enemy of education is “technocracy . . . ’evil [dominates] wherever the technical side of things is…sovereign.” For Ellul, observing later in the 20th century, “education no longer has a humanist…value in itself; it has only one goal, to create technicians.” Combining these reflections from the two authors, postmodernity and techniquelose touch with what Weil calls “attention”—waiting for God (or Platonist transcendent claims of Truth and Goodness), and also to the human other.
The thrust of technique in the contemporary American spheres of social media and education pulls away from critical and reflexive capacities, especially as core values in the liberal arts. These two related spheres of change suggest the unreflective assertion of ideas without in-depth, historical learning, or an ethically-entrenched humanistic approach. Higher education and wider communities of discourse reflect an age of empty speech and the worship of technological innovation and “the newest.” This moves away from the charism of St. Bernard of Chartres who reminds us that “New knowledge is always standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Source: International Jacques Ellul Society (2022) / / An early version of this article was presented at the American Weil Society colloquy in the Spring of 2017 at Villanova University.
Sarah MacMillen is an associate professor at McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts in the Sociology Department at Duquesne University.
Abstract: In two letters written shortly before she sailed from Marseille in May 1942, Simone Weil reveals the profound impact George Herbert’s ‘Love (III)’ had on her. When reciting the poem to herself during intense headaches, she had a religious experience that involved Christ descending and taking her up. This article offers a comparative case study of focused attention on poetry as a form of prayer leading to a religious experience. It offers a close reading of ‘Love (III)’ through the lens of Weil’s philosophical and spiritual writings from the last year of her life and vice-versa. The beauty of poetry on Weil’s account is analogous to the beauty of the world and hence can approach human expression of God’s will or the ineffable order of the universe.
Forum for Modern Language Studies (2022)