Edited and with an introduction by Eric O. Springsted
Translated by Eric O. Springsted and Lawrence E. Schmidt
Although trained as a philosopher, Simone Weil (1909–43) contributed to a wide range of subjects, resulting in a rich field of interdisciplinary Weil studies. Yet those coming to her work from such disciplines as sociology, history, political science, religious studies, French studies, and women’s studies are often ignorant of or baffled by her philosophical investigations. In Simone Weil: Late Philosophical Writings, Eric O. Springsted presents a unique collection of Weil’s writings, one concentrating on her explicitly philosophical thinking.
The essays are drawn chiefly from the time Weil spent in Marseille in 1940-42, as well as one written from London; most have been out of print for some time; three appear for the first time; all are newly translated. Beyond making important texts available, this selection provides the context for understanding Weil’s thought as a whole. This volume is important not only for those with a general interest in Weil; it also specifically presents Weil as a philosopher, chiefly one interested in questions of the nature of value, moral thought, and the relation of faith and reason. What also appears through this judicious selection is an important confirmation that on many issues respecting the nature of philosophy, Weil, Wittgenstein, and Kierkegaard shared a great deal.
“This is an excellent book by one of the world’s leading Simone Weil scholars. Eric O. Springsted has gathered Simone Weil’s writings that focus explicitly on her conception of philosophy and its relation to both value and the transcendent. In doing so, he has provided a conceptual framework for understanding Weil’s oeuvre as a whole, which challenges readers to reinvestigate their views on the nature of philosophy and value.” — Mario Von Der Ruhr, College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University
“This book makes an important contribution to Weil studies, studies which are by their very nature interdisciplinary. Because Weil died so young, much of her work was haphazardly collected into various volumes by friends and colleagues after her death, often with very little attention paid to theme, coherence, or consistency. Springsted has done a great service over the years to Weil scholars in his attempts to address these problems; this volume is a welcome continuation of his efforts.” — Vance Morgan, Providence College
“This is an important and much-needed collection of Simone Weil’s later philosophical reflections, which is introduced, edited, and translated by two of the very best Weil scholars in the English-speaking world. Weil is too often excluded from conversations occurring within and around the academic discipline of philosophy, and as Eric O. Springsted carefully explains in his introduction, this omission may be a result of how Weil herself understood good philosophy—as a patient contemplation of irreducible problems, rather than as system-building that ends in a discrete set of positions and prescriptions. Springsted’s curation sheds new light on Weil, the philosopher, who attentively feels the rough patches of human existence so that she may inhabit, think, and act in the world more honestly.” — Rebecca Rozelle-Stone, president, American Weil Society, University of North Dakota
“Springsted edits this collection of Simone Weil’s works on her conception of philosophy, consisting of a short introduction and ten translated essays. . . . Though unpolished, these pieces offer substantive analysis and insight into key topics in philosophy, such as the nature of the discipline, value, personal identity, character, and morality. . . . An excellent resource for philosophers interested in metaphilosophy, metaethics, and free will.” — Library Journal
“. . . Springsted has selected several essays—some rather developed and others possibly drafts—that provide the reader with enough material to get a sense of ‘what she thought thinking is and ought to be and hence what she thought she was doing in writing all that she did.’ . . . Because the essays in this book capture her thinking within a very specific time period (1940-1943) and because many of their themes are related, the reader is able to get a certain sense of who she was and what she was about." — CatholicBookReview.org
“. . . [Simone Weil] was above all a thinker, and Eric O. Springsted has gathered a wonderful collection of 10 essays by her on just that. The essays are not merely Weil at her most speculative, but her reflections on the process of thinking itself. Taken together, they ‘take up what she thought thinking is and ought to be and hence what she thought she was doing in writing all that she did.’ In that alone, the book casts aside our habitual ways of remembering Weil and clears entirely fresh ground…. Each of the 10 essays is relatively short but packs a punch, as Weil’s writing tends to do. They were all written in the last three years of her life, from 1940 to 1943, a feverishly productive and intensely experimental time for Weil. She was living for the most part in Marseilles, where she had gone to work in the resistance after fleeing Paris, just as the Germans descended.” — America
“Springstead’s passion for Weil and his extraordinary expertise in her multidisciplinary contributions to intellectual life make him uniquely qualified to edit this philosophical testament . . . Some of the essays have been unavailable for years, and several are presented for the first time in this welcome assortment of philosophical literature. Those who are admirers of Weil will appreciate these classic texts and be inspired by the newer contributions.” — Catholic Library World
“In this welcome book, Springstead presents the philosophical thought of Simone Weil during the final three years of her life . . . All of the essays reveal both the interdisciplinary nature of Weil’s thought and the extent to which her way of philosophizing goes beyond the limits of academic philosophy.” — Choice