Volume 57, Issue 1, March 1997
“Gravity” in the Thought of Simone Weil
Simone Weil’s concept of gravity (la pesanteur) has received attention from philosophers and interested readers at least since the 1947 publication of La Pesanteur et fa 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.