Source: (2008) European Journal of Social Theory 11(3): 315–330.

The aim of this article is to explore some aspects of the significance of Simone Weil’s work for the question of reconciliation. Focusing on Weil’s notion of power, and investigating its plausibility, the article argues that her thinking is less useful than is sometimes supposed for grounding a cosmopolitan ethic. It further argues that Weil’s philosophical outlook, with its emphasis on loving everything that happens as an expression of God’s will, is in danger of being incapable of taking seriously others’ suffering. By picking up on the themes of punishment and forgiveness in her work, it is contended that she does not have readily available a proper conception in this context of our status as political agents. However, it is suggested that there is to be found a more promising line on reconciliation in her work in the notion of luck, and that this concept is one that, more generally, may have a more important role to play in understanding reconciliation than is often supposed. (author's abstract)