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The Work of Simone Weil: An Educational Mission

Daniela De Leo

 The paper investigates the question if Simone Weil’s thought is unitary or fragmentary, if one can speak of a “system” concerning her theoretical approach, and if her works are still current. The paper suggests a re-reading of Weil’s reflections to find in them an educative aim. 

 “A pilgrim of thought 

When one approaches the greatness of Weilian philosophy, one is inevitably taken by very conflicting emotions: this woman of genius inspires strong passions. 

Simone Weil, an ascetic, uncontrollable, overpowering woman, literally fed herself either on the words of peasants and workers or on reading her classic works, forgetting to eat. 

She refused all obliging solutions in order to be always ready to confront herself with the innovation and variety of situations, without examining them through the reassuring methods of memberships. 

 A double misrepresentation of the figure of Simone Weil emerges from the critics’ interpretations: the first one, based on hagiographic criteria, makes

her a separate, singular case, by distinguishing the years of her political commitment from the last years, which are characterized by a mystical and religious experience, and the second one, which attempts to equate her, in all ways, with the other intellectuals of her time. 

From this interpretative hodgepodge, therefore, the image of Simone Weil emerges as that of a sensitive, lucid, and committed intellectual who moves from civil rejection to contemplative acceptance of the fracture between manual and intellectual work, from a complaint of the factory regime to the dream of a domestic industry, and from the condemnation of the Soviet-style State to the proposal for a Constitutional Act that prohibits parties. . . . “

 This paper is based on the report presented in English at the XVII Congreso Internacional del Grupo.  

 Daniela De LeoProfessore Aggregato di Filosofia Teoretica – Università del Salento.  

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