Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial

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Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial delivers what no other book on Weil has?a comprehensive study of her political thought. In this examination of the development of her thought, Athanasios Moulakis offers a philosophical understanding of politics that reaches beyond current affairs and ideological advocacy.

Simone Weil?philosopher, activist, mystic?unites a profound reflection on the human condition with a consistent and courageous existential and intellectual honesty ...

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Hardcover New At the age of ten, Simone Weil suspected that the Versailles Treaty expressed the will to humiliate the defeated enemy. Some time later in a letter to the ... novelist Georges Bernanos, she marked this perception as the kindling of her political consciousness. According to professor Athanasios Moulakis, this element of hurt pride in Weil's fundamental experience, humiliation redeemed by humility, plays a prominent part in her thinking. In Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial, he examines Weil's political thought as an integral part of a lived philosophy, linking it to her epistemology, cosmology, and personal experience. Weil's principal merit, Moulakis maintains, lies in the rediscovery of the essentially dramatic rather than procedural quality of human existence. He charts the shifts in her reform philosophy, from liberation to taking root, basing his study on her L'enracinement (The Need for Roots). Weil's work abounds with such shifts and paradoxes. She sought earnestly for the plac Read more Show Less

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Overview

Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial delivers what no other book on Weil has—a comprehensive study of her political thought. In this examination of the development of her thought, Athanasios Moulakis offers a philosophical understanding of politics that reaches beyond current affairs and ideological advocacy.

Simone Weil—philosopher, activist, mystic—unites a profound reflection on the human condition with a consistent and courageous existential and intellectual honesty manifest in the moving testimony of her life and her death. Moulakis examines Weil's political thought as an integral part of a lived philosophy, in which analysis and doctrine are inseparable from the articulation of an intensely personal, ultimately religious experience.

Because it is impossible to distinguish Weil's life from her thought, her writings cannot be understood properly without linking them to her life and character. By situating Weil's political thought within the context of the intellectual climate of her time, Moulakis connects it also to her epistemology, her cosmology, and her personal experience.

Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial presents the unfolding of Weil's philosophical life against the backdrop of the political and social conditions of the last days of the Third French Republic, the Spanish Civil War, and the rise and clash of totalitarian ideologies. The ideological climate of the age—of which Weil herself was not quite free—was indeed the major "obstacle" in the struggle against which she fashioned her critical, intellectual, and moral tools.

Weil has been categorized a number of ways: as a saint and a near convert to Roman Catholicism, as a social critic, or as an analytic philosopher. Moulakis examines all aspects of Weil's thought in the indissoluble unity in which she lived them. This thorough investigation pursues the particular intellectual affiliations and the social and political experiential stimuli of Weil's work while simultaneously teasing out the timeless themes that her own timely analysis was intended to reveal.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Provides a study of Weil's political thought as an integral part of a lived philosophy, in which analysis and doctrine are inseparable from the articulation of an intensely personal and ultimately religious experience. Describes the unfolding of her philosophical life against a backdrop of the political and social conditions of the last days of the Third French Republic, the Spanish Civil War, and the rise and clash of totalitarian regimes. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826211620
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Athanasios Moulakis is Herbst Professor of Humanities at the University of Colorado. He is the author of Beyond Utility: Liberal Education for a Technological Age, winner of both the 1994 Frederick W. Ness and the Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book awards, and editor of Eric Voegelin's History of Political Ideas, Volume I: Hellenism, Rome, and Early Christianity and Order and History, Volume II, The World of the Polis.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction to the American Edition 1
Introduction: Objective and Method 11
1 The Third Republic, or the Morass 24
2 Opposition to the Established Disorder 31
3 Engagement 41
4 Syndicalism 49
5 Trotsky and Germany 60
6 Renouncing Revolution 74
7 Philosophical Beginnings: Alain 79
8 Work 94
9 Dialectic and Antinomy 104
10 Social Physics 112
11 Critique of Marxism 117
12 Attempt at a Functional Repression Theory 124
13 In Touch with Reality 136
14 The Politics of Spirit against the Powers 147
15 War and Peace: From Pacifism to Resistance 169
16 The Crisis of Patriotism 178
17 The Cult of Legitimacy 191
18 The Antisocial Contract and Love for the Cite 200
19 Equilibrium and Control 210
20 Experience and Vocation 223
Afterword 233
Bibliography 237
Index 255
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