1st Edition

Ecological Ethics and the Philosophy of Simone Weil Decreation for the Anthropocene

By Kathryn Lawson Copyright 2024
    216 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book places the philosophy of Simone Weil into conversation with contemporary environmental concerns in the Anthropocene.

    The book offers a systematic interpretation of Simone Weil, making her ethical philosophy more accessible to non-Weil scholars. Weil’s work has been influential in many fields, including politically and theologically-based critiques of social inequalities and suffering, but rarely linked to ecology. Kathryn Lawson argues that Weil’s work can be understood as offering a coherent approach with potentially widespread appeal applicable to our ethical relations to much more than just other human beings. She suggests that the process of "decreation" in Weil is an expansion of the self which might also come to include the surrounding earth and a vast assemblage of others. This allows readers to consider what it means to be human in this time and place, and to contemplate our ethical responsibilities both to other humans and also to the more-than-human world. Ultimately, the book uses Weil’s thought to decanter the human being by cultivating human actions towards an ecological ethics.

    This book will be useful for Simone Weil scholars and academics, as well as students and researchers interested in environmental ethics in departments of comparative literature, theory and criticism, philosophy, and environmental studies.

    Introduction: Finding Simone Weil in an Ecological Void                                                   

    Part I: Growing Roots: A Reading of Simone Weil                                              

     1. Mapping an Ethics of Decreation                                                 

     2. The Faculties                                                                                 

     3. The Power of Force                                                                      

     4. Attention and Mediation

     5. Decreation and Action                                                                  

    Part II: Plato and the Environment                                                           

     6. Contemporary Dualist Ecological Readings of Plato’s Phaedrus

     7. A Non-dual Reading of Plato via Metaxu (μεταξύ)           

    Part III: Decreation for the Anthropocene                                                          

     8. Weil and Anthropocene Ethics                                         

     9. A Weilian-Inspired Ecological Ethics                 

     10. Action in the Anthropocene       


    Kathryn Lawson is a lecturer of philosophy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is co-editor of Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil: Unprecedented Conversations (2024) and Breached Horizons: The Philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion (2017) and author of a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters.

    "In response to the traumas of climate catastrophe, Lawson’s Ecological Ethics shows us that suffering and beauty can be integrated at the heart of environmental consciousness. Like Keller’s Face of the Deep and Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, this is a rare treasure that unites profound intellectual insight and ethical urgency." 

    Daniel O’Dea Bradley, Professor of Philosophy, Gonzaga University, USA