This article examines international and European regulations on research involving prisoners for consensus, differences, and their consequences, and offers a critical evaluation of the various approaches. Agreement exists that prisoners are at risk of coercion, which might interfere with their ability to provide voluntary informed consent to research. Controversy exists about the magnitude of this risk and the consequences that should follow from this risk. Two strategies are proposed for a method of protecting prisoners that does not lead to discrimination: (...) first, more caution to assure non-coerced consent and second, restrictions on the type of research. Most regulations stress the importance of the principle of equivalence of healthcare in places of detention as part of an efficient protection against research risks and discrimination. All the presented approaches have shortcomings. While 'over-use' of prisoners for research as compared to the general population is ethically unjustified, not granting prisoners access to studies beneficial to their own health because of over-strict regulations is equally unjustified. A middle solution should be preferred, one that grants a minimum of protection together with the lowest possible barriers. Research that does not entail a direct benefit for the individual detainee should be restricted to types of research that have a benefit for detainees as a group and that are of low risk. What will ultimately protect prisoners best, while producing the greatest benefit for them, is access to the same healthcare available to members of the community including research as a true option. (shrink)
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Ethical Considerations for Revisions to DHHS Regulations for Protection of Prisoners Involved in Research published its report in 2006. It was charged with developing an ethical framework for the conduct of research with prisoners and identifying the safeguards and conditions necessary to ensure that research with prisoners is conducted ethically. The recommendations contained in the IOM report differ from current European regulations in several ways, some being more restrictive and some less so. For (...) example, the IOM report suggests limiting the percentage of prisoners that should be involved in a biomedical study to 50%, a limit that does not exist in Europe. However, the report does not specifically advise against research without a direct benefit to an individual prisoner: the European regulations are more restrictive than the IOM committee recommendations in this respect. The definition of minimal risk varies, as well as the proposed role of the minimal risk requirement and of the principle of subsidiarity (research that can only be done effectively in prisons). The IOM report proposes a number of thoughtful suggestions, which it would be beneficial to implement everywhere, such as registers of research on prisoners. The European regulations offer pragmatic solutions to several thorny issues. In summary, the IOM committee report represents an admirable effort to tackle the present inconsistencies and deficiencies of federal regulations in the US on research on prisoners (45 CFR 46 Subpart C). Nonetheless, before acting on the recommendations, US regulators might consider revisiting international guidelines such as those published by the Council for International Organizations of Medical Science (CIOMS) and the Declaration of Helsinki. (shrink)
Developments in the last several years have sparked renewed interest in the ethics of research involving humans. Issues relating to the global extent of research and its guiding principles are of particular importance to researchers, health officials, and individual ethics committees who want a deeper and more encompassing inquiry regarding the foundation and evolution of human research. This department of CQ launches a long overdue effort to explore these wider issues. Readers are invited to submit papers to Charles MacKay, 5011 (...) Worthington Drive, Bethesda, MD, 20816, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. a. (shrink)
Background: Multi-collaborator research is increasingly becoming the norm in the field of biomedicine. With this trend comes the imperative to award recognition to all those who contribute to a study; however, there is a gap in the current “gold standard” in authorship guidelines with regards to the efforts of those who provide high quality biosamples and data, yet do not play a role in the intellectual development of the final publication. -/- Methods and findings: We carried out interviews with 36 (...) individuals working in, or with links to, biobanks in Switzerland, in order to understand how they interpret, apply and value authorship criteria in studies involving biosamples. The majority of respondents feel that authorship is an important motivating factor in working and publishing collaboratively. However, our findings suggest that in some cases, authorship guidelines are being ignored in favor of departmental standards which recognize “scientific work” as meriting authorship. -/- Conclusions: Our results support the current calls in the literature for an alternative method of crediting biomaterial contributions, in order to ensure appropriate authorship inclusion and promote collaborative research involving biobanks. (shrink)
The importance of medical confidentiality is obvious to anyone who has ever been a patient, and protecting private information about patients is one of the key responsibilities of healthcare professionals. However, maintaining the confidentiality of patients who are incarcerated in prisons poses several ethical challenges. In this chapter we explain the importance of confidentiality in general, and the dilemmas that sometimes face doctors with regard to it, before describing some of the specific difficulties faced by prison doctors. Although healthcare professionals (...) working in prisons have the same duty to respect confidentiality as those working in the wider community, the conflicts of interest caused by their dual loyalty to prisoners and to prison authorities can make it very difficult to strike the right balance between respecting confidentiality and protecting prisoners and third parties. We illustrate some of the dilemmas facing prison doctors with a series of case discussions before providing suggestions for resolving these difficult situations. Ideally, a combination of great ethical and legal sensitivity on the part of healthcare professionals and general respect for prisoners’ rights on the part of other prison staff enables most issues to be resolved without the need to compromise patients’ confidentiality. (shrink)
It is well known that prisoners’ human rights are often violated. In this chapter we examine whether guidelines can be effective in preventing such violations and in helping physicians resolve the significant conflicts of interest that they often face in trying to protect prisoners’ rights. We begin by explaining the role of clinical and ethical guidelines outside prisons, in the context of healthcare for non-incarcerated prisoners, and then the specific role of such guidelines within prisons, where the main concerns are (...) ensuring respect for the principle of equivalence of care, and for a prisoner patient’s autonomy in health care decisions. After reviewing and analysing various national and international guidelines, we review the literature and assess whether the good practices set out in these guidelines actually translate into changes in professional behaviour and consequent benefits for prisoners. It emerges that physicians both outside and within prisons tend to be insufficiently familiar with the relevant guidelines, and that they too infrequently use the guidance to make decisions, preferring instead to use personal codes of conduct. Guidelines designed specifically for the prison context are important to ensure equivalence of care and should be better known by health care personnel and other professional groups working in prison. Further guidelines should be developed that describe challenging situations and provide concrete guidance as to how to deal with them. (shrink)
Objective Routine prenatal screening for Down syndrome challenges professional non-directiveness and patient autonomy in daily clinical practices. This paper aims to describe how professionals negotiate their role when a pregnant woman asks them to become involved in the decision-making process implied by screening. Methods Forty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with gynaecologists–obstetricians (n=26) and midwives (n=15) in a large Swiss city. Results Three professional profiles were constructed along a continuum that defines the relative distance or proximity towards patients’ demands for professional (...) involvement in the decision-making process. The first profile insists on enforcing patient responsibility, wherein the healthcare provider avoids any form of professional participation. A second profile defends the idea of a shared decision making between patients and professionals. The third highlights the intervening factors that justify professionals’ involvement in decisions. Conclusions These results illustrate various applications of the principle of autonomy and highlight the complexity of the doctor–patient relationship amidst medical decisions today. (shrink)
Biobanks are vital for diagnostic, epidemiological and research purposes following radiation disasters, but there is a history of delays in this type of research and specifically in setting up important resources including tissue repositories following the rare occurrence of these events. Here, we argue that one key lesson from Chernobyl and Fukushima has still not been learned: it is essential to agree on a proactive international plan for a radiation disaster biobank and accompanying data collection before the next disaster occurs.
The primacy in modern medical ethics of the principle of respect for autonomy has led to the widespread assumption that it is unethical to change someone’s beliefs, because doing so would constitute coercion or paternalism., In this Viewpoint we suggest that persuasion is not necessarily paternalistic and is an essential component of modern medical practice.
The annual UK potential donor audit captures families’ reasons for not consenting to donation of their deceased family members’ organs . Given that many families’ refusals and vetoes are based on false beliefs, cognitive bias and misunderstanding, it is incumbent upon doctors, nurses and transplant coordinators to invest sufficient time to facilitate informed consent or authorization. While such families are distressed, organ donation rates could be substantially improved if they were made aware of any mistaken beliefs, using recently suggested criteria (...) for the ethical use of persuasion . This article examines some of the reasons for refusal of donation and suggests ways to help families make better decisions. It emerges that the use of persuasion is ethically essential in order to prevent families making decisions that they may come to regret. (shrink)
A new Swiss law requires that any research involving humans must aim to answer "a relevant research question". This paper explains the relevance of the relevance criterion in research, analyses the Swiss and British guidelines on relevance, and proposes a framework for researchers and REC members that enables a clearer conception of the role of relevance in research. We conclude that research must be either scientifically or societally beneficial in order to qualify as relevant, and RECs therefore cannot avoid reviewing (...) the scientific aspects of proposed studies. Normally only scientifically relevant studies can be of benefit to society, but research of low scientific relevance can nonetheless be relevant to society if it forms part of the education of new doctors and scientists. (shrink)
Aim: While there is widespread agreement on the broad aspects of what constitutes a biobank, there is much disagreement regarding the precise definition. This research aimed to describe and analyse the definitions of the term biobank offered by various stakeholders in biobanking. Methods: Interviews were conducted with 36 biobanking stakeholders with international experience currently working in Switzerland. Results: The results show that, in addition to the core concepts of biological samples and linked data, the planned use of samples (including sharing) (...) is held to be a key criterion. It also emerges that some researchers avoid the term in order to circumvent certain regulatory guidelines, including informed consent requirements. Conclusion: Developments in the field of biobanking will be complicated if researchers are unaware, or deny that their collection is a biobank. A clear definition of the term is therefore an important step towards fostering collaboration amongst researchers, enabling them to more easily identify potential sources of samples. (shrink)
There are prominent resemblances between issues addressed by Simone de Beauvoir in her early essay on moral philosophy, Pyrrhus and Cineas (1944), and issues attracting the attention of contemporary feminist ethicists, especially those concerned with the ethics of care. They include a focus on relationships, interaction, and mutual dependency. Both emphasize concrete ethical challenges rooted in everyday life, such as those affecting parents and children. Both are critical of the level of abstraction and insensitivity to the situation of the (...) moral agent in utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. And both condemn the “moral point of view,” i.e. the assumption that it is possible to speak with a universal voice on behalf of humanity. These resemblances are explored in this article. (shrink)
An action-oriented theory of embodied memory is favorable for many reasons, but it will not provide a quick yet clean solution to the grounding problem in the way Glenberg (1997t) envisages. Although structural mapping via analogical representations may be an adequate mechanism of cognitive representation, it will not suffice to explain representation as such.
Medical confidentiality is a core concept of professionalism and should be an integral part of pregraduate and postgraduate medical education. The aim of our study was to define the factors influencing attitudes towards patient confidentiality in everyday situations in order to define the need for offering further education to various subgroups of physicians. All internists and general practitioners who were registered members of the association of physicians in Geneva or who were working in the department of internal medicine or in (...) the medical polyclinic of the University Hospital of Geneva in 2004 received a standardised questionnaire. Physicians were asked to indicate for seven vignettes whether a violation of confidentiality had occurred and whether the violation was not important, important or serious (scores 1–3; no violation = 0). 508 completed questionnaires were returned (participation rate 55%). Physicians who had worked in the hospital for more than 20 years identified violations of confidentiality more often than physicians with less hospital experience. Binary logistic regression showed that ethics education, total years of professional experience, being an internist, having a private practice, the length of working in private practice and gender were factors associated with correct identification of violations and their severity. However, each factor played a specific role only for single cases or a small number of situations (Cronbach α <0.6). Postgraduate education programs on confidentiality should be offered to a wide range of physicians and should address specific hypothetical situations in which there is a risk of avoidable breaches of confidentiality. (shrink)
The attentional blink (AB) is an impairment of attention, which occurs when subjects have to report a target stimulus (T2) following a previous target (T1) with a short delay (up to 600 ms). Theories explaining the AB assume that processing of T2 is more vulnerable to decay or substitution, as long as attention is allocated to T1. Existing models of the AB, however, do not account for the fact that T2 detection accuracy reaches the minimum when T2 is presented after (...) about 300 ms and not immediately following T1. Therefore, a new model is suggested, which is based on chronometrical considerations together with recent neurophysiological findings concerning the relation between the P3 event-related potential and the AB, the interaction between P3 and gamma oscillations, and the significance of the early evoked gamma band response. We hypothesize that suppression of the early gamma response to T2, accompanying the P3 related to T1, causes the AB. (shrink)
If the explanatory gap between phenomenal consciousness () and the brain cannot be closed by current naturalistic theories of mind, one might instead try to dissolve the explanatory gap problem. We hold that such a dissolution can start from the notion of consciousness as a social construction. In his target article, however, Block (1995) argues that the thesis that consciousness is a social construction is trivially false if it is construed to be about phenomenal consciousness. He ridicules the idea that (...) the occurrence of p-consciousness requires that the subject of p-consciousness already have the concept of p-consciousness. This idea is not as ridiculous as Block supposes. To see this, one must accept that in a unique sense, p-consciousness is what we as the subjects of consciousness takeit to be. Furthermore, the notion of consciousness as a social construction does not depend on the view that the concept of consciousness somehow precedes the occurrence of consciousness as such. In sum, consciousness can plausibly be seen as a social construction, and this view can promote a dissolution of the explanatory gap problem. (shrink)
This article explicates the meaning of the paradox from the perspective of sexual difference, as articulated by Simone de Beauvoir. I claim that the self, the other, and their becoming are sexed in Beauvoir’s early literary writing before the question of sexual difference is posed in The Second Sex (1949). In particular, Beauvoir’s description of Françoise’s subjective becoming in the novel She Came to Stay (1943) anticipates her later systematic description of ‘the woman in love’. In addition, I argue (...) that the different existential types appearing at the end of The Second Sex (the narcissist, the woman in love, the mystic, and the independent woman) are variations of a specific feminine, historically changing paradox of subjectivity. According to this paradox, women, in a different mode than men, must become what they ontologically “are”: beings of change and self-transcendence that have to realise the human condition in their concrete, singular lives. My interpretation draws on Kierkegaardian philosophy of existence, phenomenology, and early psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Simone Weil is widely recognized today as one of the profound religious thinkers of the twentieth century. Yet while her interpretation of natural science is critical to Weil's overall understanding of religious faith, her writings on science have received little attention compared with her more overtly theological writings. The present essay, which builds on Vance Morgan's Weaving the World: Simone Weil on Science, Necessity, and Love (2005), critically examines Weil's interpretation of the history of science. Weil believed that (...) mathematical science, for the ancient Pythagoreans a mystical expression of the love of God, had in the modern period degenerated into a kind of reification of method that confuses the means of representing nature with nature itself. Beginning with classical (Newtonian) science's representation of nature as a machine, and even more so with the subsequent assimilation of symbolic algebra as the principal language of mathematical physics, modern science according to Weil trades genuine insight into the order of the world for symbolic manipulation yielding mere predictive success and technological domination of nature. I show that Weil's expressed desire to revive a Pythagorean scientific approach, inspired by the "mysterious complicity" in nature between brute necessity and love, must be recast in view of the intrinsically symbolic character of modern mathematical science. I argue further that a genuinely mystical attitude toward nature is nascent within symbolic mathematical science itself. (shrink)
Simone Weil (1909-1943) was a defining figure of the twentieth century; a philosopher, Christian, resistance fighter, anarchist, feminist, labor activist and teacher. She was described by T. S. Eliot as "a woman of genius, of a kind of genius akin to that of the saints," and by Albert Camus as "the only great spirit of our time." Originally published posthumously in two volumes, these newly reissued notebooks, are among the very few unedited personal writings of Weil's that still survive (...) today. Containing her thoughts on art, love, science, God and the meaning of life, they give context and meaning to Weil's famous works, revealing a unique philosophy in development and offering a rare private glimpse of her singular personality. (shrink)
: The paper argues that the philosophical starting point of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex is the phenomenological understanding of the living body, developed by Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. It shows that Beauvoir's notion of philosophy stems from the phenomenological interpretation of Cartesianism which emphasizes the role of evidence, self-criticism, and dialogue.
: This paper examines Simone de Beauvoir's account of marriage in The Second Sex and argues that Beauvoir's dichotomy between transcendence and immanence can provide an illuminating critique of continuing gender inequities in marriage and divisions of domestic work. Beauvoir's existentialist ethics not only establishes a moral wrong in marriages in which wives perform the second shift of household labor but also supports the need to transform existing normative expectations surrounding wives and domestic work.
: How should socially privileged white feminists (and others) address their privilege? Often, individuals are urged to overcome their own personal racism through a politics of self-transformation. The paper argues that this strategy may be problematic, since it rests on an over-autonomous conception of the self. The paper turns to Simone de Beauvoir for an alternative account of the self, as "situated," and explores what this means for a politics of privilege.
: In this essay, Hutchings contends that Simone de Beauvoir's argument in The Ethics of Ambiguity provides a valuable resource for feminists currently addressing the question of the legitimacy of political violence, whether of the state or otherwise. The reason is not that Beauvoir provides a definitive answer to this question, but rather because of the ways in which she deconstructs it. In enabling her reader to appreciate what is presupposed by a resistant politics that adopts violence as its (...) instrument, Beauvoir illuminates the problems encountered by the kinds of "realistic and positive" and "idealistic and moral" arguments through which the use of violence in politics is routinely justified. At the same time, Beauvoir demonstrates that to deconstruct the question of the legitimacy of violence is neither to banish nor resolve it. She does not offer a recipe for determining the legitimacy or otherwise of the use of violence in politics in general; instead, she illuminates the irremediable difficulty and inescapability of such judgments in a violent and intransigent world. (shrink)
As the editor of this volume writes in his introduction: 'Simone Weil's philosophy is one that interrogates and contemplates our culture; it makes us aware of our lack of attention to words and empty ideologies, to human suffering, to the indignity of work, to our excessive use of power, to religious dogmatisms. Rather than set out a system of ideas, Simone Weil uses her philosophical reflections to show how to think about work and oppression, freedom and the good, (...) necessity and power, love and justice - even how to think about, or not think about, God. In this way we are asked to examine the human condition and learn to discern a way through it.' This is one of the very few books available in English to present a comprehensive interpretation of the philosophy of Simone Weil and how her thought can cast light on issues of contemporary importance such as work, justice, the law, war and peace, and issues of more general moral and theological concern. (shrink)
Simone de Beauvoir held that human experience is intrinsically ambiguous and that there are no values extrinsic to experience, but she also designated some actions as absolute evil. This essay explains how Beauvoir utilized an intrinsic absolute value to ground an action-guiding principle of freedom that justifies her notion of evil. Morgan’s analysis counters Robin May Schott’s objections that Beauvoir failed to systematically justify her notion of absolute evil and that Beauvoir shifted from a “logic of action” to a (...) “logic of history” when she utilized the concept. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on the term ‘immanence’ in Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and show how it relates to her historical account of sexual oppression. I argue that Beauvoir's use of Hegel's master−slave dialectic and of Claude Lévi-Strauss's reflection on the prohibition of incest lead her to claim that in all societies “woman” is constructed as “absolutely other.” I show that there is an ambiguous logic of abjection at work in Beauvoir's account that explains why men (...) are the only examples of transcendence in history, whereas women lack it. Finally, I discuss the way in which the relation between immanence and abjection helps to explain the intellectual relation between Georges Bataille and Beauvoir. (shrink)
: For many, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex has only historic significance. The aim of this article is to show on the contrary that Beauvoir's philosophy already contains all the elements of contemporary feminism—so much so that it can be taken as its paradigm. Beauvoir's ideas about the self are extremely relevant today. Feminist themes such as the logic of "equality and difference" and identity are interwoven in her thinking in ways that can offer solutions to what seem (...) to be insurmountable di-lemmas in modern feminism. The attack on all kinds of essentialism can be recon-ciled with feminist identity-politics when the latter presents itself as "arts of living.". (shrink)
For many, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex has only historic significance. The aim of this article is to show on the contrary that Beauvoir's philosophy already contains all the elements of contemporary feminism-so much so that it can be taken as its paradigm. Beauvoir's ideas about the self are extremely relevant today. Feminist themes such as the logic of "equality and difference" and identity are interwoven in her thinking in ways that can offer solutions to what seem to (...) be insurmountable dilemmas in modern feminism. The attack on all kinds of essentialism can be reconciled with feminist identity-politics when the latter presents itself as "arts of living.". (shrink)
A large number of feminist philosophers and social critics accept that Simone de Beauvoir's conception of transcendence in The Second Sex relies on masculinist ontology. In contrast with feminist interpretations that see Beauvoir claiming the success of masculinist ontology, this article argues that transcendence as masculinist ontology does not succeed in The Second Sex because it requires a relation of domination, something contrary to its own definition of freedom-producing relations. The Second Sex obliquely reveals this failure, but Beauvoir does (...) not ruminate upon it. Instead, Beauvoir turns to imagine freedom-producing gender relations in the future where the body and consciousness are already emancipated from constitutive domination. This is a future that resonates with G. W. F. Hegel's `Stoic Consciousness'. The significance of this finding is that the location of freedom neither resides in the intertwinement of the male body and consciousness previously argued to be the case, for Beauvoir, nor does it reside in the intertwinement of the female body and consciousness. Rather, freedom resides in the intertwinement of male and female bodies and consciousness where domination is already absent, that is, a place outside of history. Thus, the conclusion of The Second Sex can be read as a consolation and an escape from the inescapable limits of the present. (shrink)
In these interviews from 1982 and 1985, I ask Beauvoir about her philosophical differences with Jean-Paul Sartre on the issues of voluntarism vs social conditioning and embodiment, individualism vs reciprocity, and ontology vs ethics. We also discuss her influence on Sartre's work, the problems with the current English translation of The Second Sex, her analyses of motherhood and feminist concepts of woman-identity, and her own experience of sexism.
Simone de Beauvoir was a philosopher and writer of notable range and influence whose work is central to feminist theory, French existentialism, and contemporary moral and social philosophy. The essays in this volume examine all the major aspects of her thought, including her views on issues such as the role of biology, sexuality and sexual difference, and evil, the influence on her work of Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, and others, and the philosophical significance of her memoirs and fiction. New (...) readers and nonspecialists will find this the most convenient and accessible guide to Beauvoir currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Beauvoir. (shrink)
In 1941 Simone Weil was introduced to Father Jean-Marie Perrin, a priest of the Dominican order whose friendship became one of the most significant influences on her spiritual development. It was for Father Perrin that she wrote her 'spiritual autobiography', contained in Waiting for God, and to him that she later wrote 'Letter to a Priest'. When Weil requested work as a field hand, Perrin sent her to Gustave Thibon, a farmer and Christian philosopher. From 1941-2, Weil stayed with (...) the Thibon family, working in the fields by day while writing by night the notebooks which posthumously became Gravity and Grace and other seminal works. Perrin and Thibon met Weil at a time when her interior life and her creative genius were at the height of their glowing maturity. During the short but deep period of their acquaintance with her, they came to know her as she actually was. Their accounts of this time reveal her to us in the bare parlour of the Dominican convent at Marseilles where, after waiting her turn among a stream of refugees, she discussed her personal problems with Father Perrin. They show her to us in the vineyards of Ardèche, and on the stone seat by the fountain overlooking the Rhone valley where she read Plato to Thibon, her host. First published in 1953, and now newly introduced by Patricia Little, this unique portrait depicts Weil through the eyes of her friends, not as a strange and unaccountable genius but as an ardent and very human young person in search of truth and knowledge. (shrink)
This article begins by asking if the project to write a philosophical novel is not inherently flawed; it would seem that the novelist must either write an ambiguous text, which would not create a strong enough argument to count as philosophy, or she must write a text with a clear argument, which would not be ambiguous enough to count as good fiction. The only other option available would be to exemplify a preexisting abstract philosophical system in the concrete literary world. (...) To move beyond such an impasse, this article turns to the work of Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir's unique aesthetic theory in "Literature and Metaphysics" envisions philosophy as an integral part of the literary text and sees the novel not as an argument but as something called a "philosophical appeal" (Beauvoir 2004b). In her first novel, She Came to Stay, such a concept of the philosophical novel allows Beauvoir to make an original contribution to the philosophical tradition—one in which Beauvoir rethinks the problem of solipsism—while still creating a stunning literary work (Beauvoir 1954). A study of the theory and the novel together thus provides a solid understanding of what philosophers stand to gain from the philosophical novel. (shrink)
This essay tries to demonstrate two distinct but complementary visions to a central theme of Christian faith: humanity’s redemption in the crucified Christ. It will attempt to show how the poetics of Simone Weil (1909–1943) and the poetic art of Georges Rouault (1871–1943) embody different understandings of Christian faith. Considering faith from a philosophical approach, Weil detaches the sufferings of Christ from the totality of salvific history. Viewing faith from the artistic approach, Rouault places the crucified Christ in the (...) context of the history of salvation, including Mary and the Church. Though different from one another, these two visions reveal to us a light in the midst of our dark or suffering existence that makes audible or perceptible the silence of God’s love in Christ that is its source. (shrink)
: French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943) was convinced that bodily or somatic practices could play a significant role in human moral and religious development. Weil believed that such development hinges on how the world is read (lecture) or interpreted, and somatic practices play a key role in shifting rom more to less egocentric readings. While she did not live to complete her research on somatic practice, it is fruitful to follow out the lines of her program. Comparing her considerations (...) with those of Japanese Buddhists, and especially Dogen, helps throw into relief her philosophical commitment concerning the body and reveals her preoccupation with purity. Weil's research raises interesting questions for philosophers of somatic practice. (shrink)
This book examines the religious, social, and political thought of Simone Weil in the context of the rigorous philosophical thinking out of which it grew. It also explores illuminating parallels between these ideas and ideas that were simultaneously being developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Simone Weil developed a conception of the relation between human beings and nature which made it difficult for her to explain mutual understanding and justice. Her wrestling with this difficulty coincided with a considerable sharpening of (...) her religious sensibility, and led to a new conception of the natural and social orders involving a supernatural dimension, within which the concepts of beauty and justice are paramount. Professor Winch provides a fresh perspective on the complete span of Simone Weil's work, and discusses the fundamental difficulties of tracing the dividing line between philosophy and religion. (shrink)
Simone Weil's concept of gravity (la pésanteur) has received attention from philosophers and interested readers at least since the 1947 publication of La Pésanteur et la grâce. "Gravity" is a key concept in Weil's moral and spiritual psychology, and despite the attention Weil's writings have received, there is ample need for a study that draws together Weil's scattered references to gravity and demonstrates their cohesion. This article develops a treatment of gravity that seeks to clarify one of the major (...) scientific analogies Weil uses to develop her notion of moral gravity. It is hoped that this approach will furnish a point of departure for interpreting Weil's obscure and often fragmentary remarks on gravity. In addition, something important can be said about both the difficulties and the promise of Weil's analogy, and this article offers a few critical comments towards that end. (shrink)