She studied and eventually taught philosophy, attracting attention for her radical Marxist opinions. Hoping to understand the working class, she also worked in fields and factories and even participated in the Spanish Civil War. Over time she lost faith in political ideologies and was drawn to Christianity. Her religious writings often emphasized sacrifice and martyrdom through an ascetic lifestyle, a lifestyle that Weil personally adopted and which led to her early death at age 34 from tuberculosis.
Her parents, both of whom came from Jewish families, provided her with an assimilated, secular, bourgeois French childhood both cultured and comfortable.
Like Weil at this time, Alain was agnostic. In his classes he emphasized intellectual history: There, employing paradox and attention through the form of the essay it is important to note that none of her writings was published as a book in her lifetimeshe began intentionally developing what would become her distinct mode of philosophizing.
She was the only woman in her class, the first woman having been first admitted in In her early thinking she prized at once the first-person perspective and radical skepticism of Descartes, the class-based solidarity and materialist analysis of Marx, and the moral absolutism and respect for the individual of Kant.
Drawing from each, her early work can be read as an attempt to provide, with a view toward liberty, her own analysis of the fundamental causes of oppression in society. In early AugustWeil travelled to Germany in order to understand better the conditions fostering Nazism.
German trade unions, she wrote to friends upon her return to France, were the single force in Germany able to generate a revolution, but they were fully reformist. Long periods of unemployment left many Germans without energy or esteem.
At best, she observed frankly, they could serve as a kind of dead weight in a revolution. More specifically, by early Weil criticized the tendency of social organizations to engender bureaucracy, which elevated management and collective thinking over and against the individual worker.
These ideas would provide a theoretical framework for her idiosyncratic practice of philosophy. Near the end of her life she wrote in a notebook: On 20 June,Weil applied for a sabbatical from teaching. She was to spend a year working in Parisian factories as part of its most oppressed group, unskilled female laborers.
While the factory managers continued to demand more, both fatigue and thinking itself less likely under such conditions slowed work.
As a result, Weil felt dehumanized. Phenomenologically, her factory experience was less one of physical suffering per se, and more one of humiliation.
Weil was surprised that this humiliation produced not rebellion but rather fatigue, docility. On a trip to Portugal in Augustupon watching a procession to honor the patron saint of fishing villagers, she had her first major contact with Christianity and wrote that the conviction was suddenly borne in upon [her] that Christianity is pre-eminently the religion of slaves, that slaves cannot help belonging to it, and [she] among others.
Thus her conception and description of suffering thickened and became more personal at this time. Weil participated in the Paris factory occupations and, moreover, planned on returning to factory work. Her trajectory shifted, however, with the advent of the Spanish Civil War. On 20 August,Weil, clumsy and nearsighted, stepped in a pot of boiling oil, severely burning her lower left leg and instep.
Only her parents could persuade her not to return to combat.
By late Weil wrote against French colonization of Indochina, and by early she argued against French claims to Morocco and Tunisia. In April she travelled to Italy. Within the basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli, inside the small twelfth-century Romanesque chapel where St.
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Francis prayed, Weil had her second significant contact with Christianity. At Solesmes she had her third contact with Christianity: It goes without saying that in the course of these services the thought of the passion of Christ entered into [her] being once and for all.
After the military alliance of Germany and Italy in MayWeil renounced her pacifism. It was not that she felt she was wrong in holding such a position before, but now, she argued, France was no longer strong enough to remain generous or merely defensive. Following the German Western offensive, she left Paris with her family in Juneon the last train.
They settled eventually but temporarily in Marseilles, at the time the main gathering point for those attempting to flee France, and where Weil would work with the Resistance.
In Vichy France Weil took up a practice she had long sought, namely, to apprentice herself to the life of agricultural laborers.
In addition, in Marseilles she was introduced to the Dominican priest Joseph-Marie Perrin, who became a close friend as well as a spiritual interlocutor, and through whom she began to consider the question of baptism.
Thus in Fall Weil worked in the grape harvest. Importantly, however, she was not treated like the rest of the laborers; although she worked a full eight hours per day, she resided and ate at the house of her employers.
Thus she went to New York via Morocco.The Philosophy of Simone Weil. (revised version) This lecture was provided in support of the VCE philosophy curriculum unit 3, The Good Life, in. 1. Philosophical Development. Simone Weil was born in Paris on 3 February Her parents, both of whom came from Jewish families, provided her with an assimilated, secular, bourgeois French childhood both cultured and comfortable.
The Philosophy of Simone Weil Course Guide / Dr. David Levy, [email protected] Ofﬁce Hour: Tuesday I will return the essay to you via the philosophy ofﬁce in week 1 of the second term.
MSc assessment MSc students are assessed by a single essay of words. The title of your essay. The Philosophy of Simone Weil Essays Words | 14 Pages. The Philosophy of Simone Weil In the final entry to her London notebooks, Simone Weil writes "Philosophy is exclusively an affair of action and practice.
The Philosophy of Simone Weil Course Guide / Dr. David Levy, [email protected] Ofﬁce Hour: Tuesday If you submit the essay by the end of teaching week 9, I will return it to you in Simone Weil’s Philosophy of Culture: Readings Toward a Divine Hu-manity.
Cambridge University Press, Simone Weil was a trained philosopher and a teacher of philosophy. She was a political theorist and activist, a revolutionary, a laborer in the French fields and factories and toward the end of he life, she was a mystic.