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Power, Punishment and Reconciliation in the Political and Social Thought of Simone Weil.

Hamilton, Christopher
June 4, 2015

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)


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