Journal of Continental Philosophy

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2020

Simone Weil, Chris FlemingOrcid-ID
Pages 9-15

Essay on the Notion of Reading

In this essay, Weil undertakes a meditation on the idea of “reading”, which she thinks can shed new light on a diverse range of conceptual and experiential “mysteries”, especially with respect to our existential responses to the world. A central concern is how we ascribe meaning and respond to phenomena. She argues that, for the most part, our reading of the world and the things in it are immediate, not subject to “interpretation”, at least as this is regularly conceived. Further, Weil says, our readings of the world are invariably tied to particular kinds of valuation, of ethical assessment and orientation, which appear to us as both obvious and immediate. This immediacy of reading, however, does not entail that our readings cannot be changed or challenged—only that such a change or challenge requires a particular kind of labor.