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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: The Philosophy of Simone Weil MSc (PHIL11162)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will study the philosophy and philosophical works of Simone Weil from her Cartesian roots to her later Platonic moral philosophy, as well as her impact on post-war, English-language philosophers.

Shared with undergraduate course The Philosophy of Simone Weil PHIL10161.

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description This course will study Simone Weil's philosophy, including her philosophies of labour and justice; and her conceptions of morality and moral personality. Study will proceed through a close reading of central essays or extracts from collected notes and notebooks. Discussion will focus on her texts, less so those of interpreters, so students will learn to read her work. The course will highlight the movement from earlier views oriented around action to later views oriented around attention. This course is oriented around a single philosopher and her work, but attention will also fall on the connections between Weil's philosophy and enduring difficulties in the philosophies of Descartes and Plato; as well as the impact on recent philosophers such as Iris Murdoch and Peter Winch. Limited consideration will be given to Weil's writings on spirituality. The focus is philosophical.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Grasp and analyze central themes in Weil¿s philosophy
  2. Improve core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts, evaluate arguments, and develop critical ideas in response
  3. Relate Weil¿s philosophy to that of historical and contemporary philosophers, including who influenced whom
  4. Understand conceptions of voluntariness, attention and action distant from the philosophical mainstream
  5. Locate the points of interaction between Weil¿s philosophical elaborations and familiar philosophical theories
Reading List
Simone Weil, "Human Personality" or "La Personne et le sacré"
Simone Weil, "Are We Struggling for Justice?" or "Luttons-nous pour la Justice?" (PI) Simone Weil, "The Legitimacy of the Provisional Government" (PI)"
Simone Weil, The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind, 1952.
Simone Weil, "Essay on the Notion of Reading" or "Essai sur la notion de lecture"
Simone Weil, "The Iliad, Poem of Force"
Simone Weil and J.P. Holoka, Simone Weil's the Iliad or the Poem of
Force: A Critical Edition, 2005.
Simone Weil, Lectures on Philosophy, 1978.
Peter Winch, Simone Weil: The Just Balance, 1989.
Rush Rhees, Discussions of Simone Weil, 2000.
David McLellan, Simone Weil: Utopian Pessimist, 1999.
Palle Yorgrau, Simone Weil, 2011.
Christopher Hamilton, "Simone Weil's 'Human Personality': Between the Personal and the Impersonal," Harvard Theological Review, 2005.
Rowan Williams, "Review article on Peter Winch, Simone Weil: The Just Balance," Philosophical Investigations, 1991.
David Cockburn, "Self, World and God in Spinoza and Weil," Studies in World Christianity, 1998.

We will work from assorted articles, reading one or two each week. These vary as new topics emerge. The full details will be in the course guide on LEARN.
Additional Information
Course URL See Learn website
Graduate Attributes and Skills Close reading.
Selective note taking.
Critical interpretation.
Developing an argument.
Written communication.
Oral debate.
KeywordsPhilosophy,Morality,Simone Weil,Justice
Course organiserDr David Levy
Tel: (0131 6)50 9943
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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