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Q: Simone Weil and Max Weber ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Simone Weil and Max Weber
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: rosmar-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 12 Mar 2003 18:02 PST
Expires: 11 Apr 2003 19:02 PDT
Question ID: 175411
Did Simone Weil ever read anything by Max Weber?   Thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 13 Mar 2003 11:59 PST
Hello rosmar-ga,

I've watched about a dozen locks on this question over the past two
days and then seen them abandoned without comment or request for
clarification. I, too, started researching the question. I've brought
home an armful of books from the library. I wish I had a better idea
of what I'm looking for.

The initial answer to your question seems to be, "No. There doesn't
seem to be any evidence of Simone Weil having read Max Weber." I have
a hunch this is not a satisfactory answer. If I came up with a quote
and a source, would that give you what you need?

Please give us a context for what you're looking for so that one of
the researchers who had this question locked and invested some time
and effort can help you with what you're really looking for. Thanks.


Clarification of Question by rosmar-ga on 14 Mar 2003 08:34 PST
Hello czh-ga,

Yes, a quote and a source would be enough for me.  I am working on an
intellectual history project, and it would be very, very useful for me
to be able to say definitively that she either did or did not read

Thank you very much for working on this.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 14 Mar 2003 12:20 PST
Hello again rosmar-ga,

Thank you for the clarification. As I said in my earlier note, many
Researchers have worked on your question and come up with nothing. It
would be helpful to us if you would give us additional information
about where you've looked and hints as to where the best resources
might be.

Why do you believe that Weil read Weber? Also, proving a negative is
impossible. What would constitute proof "to be able to say
definitively" that she didn't read Weber? The more information you can
share, the more likely that a Researcher will be able to find what
you're looking for. Thanks again.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Mar 2003 16:13 PST
It's hard to believe that Weil wouldn't have known about and read
Weber's work, but there's absolutely no indication that she did. 
Would you be interested --as an answer here -- in an accounting of
where Weber *doesn't* show up in Weil's work, including:

--no reference to Weber in several of Weil's books
--no mention of Weber in books about Weil
--no connection between the two in articles in print and on the web,
both academic and biographical

If that would suffice as an answer, let the researchers know, and we
can document, in detail, all the places where there is no evidence of
a link between the two.

On the other hand, I can probably connect Simone Weil with Kevin
Bacon, if that is of interest....

Clarification of Question by rosmar-ga on 14 Mar 2003 16:42 PST
The reason I was thinking Weil might have read Weber is that she makes
some very similar points to ones that he raises, and he was already
famous (and dead) by the time she wrote.

I wasn't thinking about how difficult it would be to prove a negative.
 If you could give me as complete a list as you can of where one would
expect to have found evidence of Weil having read Weber (if she had),
but where no such evidence can be found, that would be excellent.

Thanks again for working on this.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Mar 2003 19:45 PST
I was going to post what I had written below as an answer.  But when I
looked it over it seemed a *good* answer, but not quite a $100 answer.
 So I am posting it here instead.

If there are particular books of Weil's (or about Weil) that you would
like to see included in a full answer, please post that information as
a reply.  That way I -- or another researcher -- can best meet your
specific needs.




Hello rosmar-ga, and thank you for a most interesting question.

Your original supposition certainly makes sense:  Max Weber was
already recognized as a pioneer in sociology when Simone Weil was
actively a part of the European intelligentsia.  It stands to reason
that whe would have been exposed to Weber's ideas, and perhaps had
direct familiarity with his work.

Nevertheless, there is not the slightest acknowledgement that I could
find -- in Weil's writings, as well as writings about Weil -- that she
had an interest in, or cited directly, Weber's work.  I base this on
reviews of the following material, much of which emphasizes Weil's
observations about social systems as she found them, and as she
thought they could become.

There are no references to, or mention of, Weber's work in any of the


Simone Weil 
by E. Tomlin
Yale University Press, 1954  

Simone Weil: An Anthology
Miles, Sian
Grove Press, 2000

Oppression and Liberty 
Simone Weil
University of Massachusetts Press, 1973  


Writing as Resistance: Four Women Confronting the Holocaust, Edith
Stein, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, Etty Hillesum.
reviewed in:  National Catholic Reporter, February 06 1998 by Maurice

Simone Weil: The Way of Justice as Compassion 
reviewed in: American Political Science Review, September 01 1999 
by Mary G. Dietz

Simone Weil and the Politics of Self-Denial. 
reviewed in:  America, March 21 1998
Patrick H. Samway

Giants of Reflection : Simone Weil 
America, December 04 1999
Robert Coles

Interpreting Simone Weil: Presence and Absence in Attention
Philosophy East & West Volume: 45. Issue: 1.
Ann Pirruccello 1995. 

Looking for Simone 
Commentary  Volume: 129 Number: 9 05-03-2002
Giles, Patrick 



 Weil, Simone (Adolphine) in Contemporary Authors. (A profile of the
author's life and works)

Weil, Simone (Adolphine) in Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.
1998  (An in-depth profile of the individual's life and career.)

Weil, Simone (Adolphine) in Feminist Writers. St. James Press, 1996.
(An in-depth profile of the writer's work.)

weil, Simone   The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.  2001

Weil, Simone   Encyclopędia Britannica

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 15 Mar 2003 08:19 PST
Also add to the list of no mention of Weber:

Simon Weil:  A Modern Pilgrimage
Robert Coles
Addison-Wesley Publishing 1987

Clarification of Question by rosmar-ga on 15 Mar 2003 09:32 PST
Actually, what has already been posted has been enormously helpful to
me.  If you could just also check one more place--her published
letters--I would be satisfied that Weil at least left no record that
she ever read Weber.

I am not sure how this system works, but I hope that all of you who
have helped me get some money for this.

Thanks again.
Subject: Re: Simone Weil and Max Weber
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 15 Mar 2003 09:56 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I'm glad you found the information here useful to your work, and I
hope you'll have occasion to use Google Answers again.

I also checked another book:

Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray (2001)

which was not as well-indexed and referenced as some of the others. 
But as far as I could tell from an in-depth scan, there is, once
again, no mention of Weber.

One more factoid for you:  a Google search on "Simone Weil" uncovers
about 25,000 sites on the web that mention her name.  Of these, only
about 300 sites *also* mention "Max Weber".  Of these 300, the
majority are either: (a) dictionary-type entries where Weber's name
and Weil's name follow one another closely in an alphabetical listing
of philosophers, or (b) discussions that mention the two, without
linking them in any meaningful way.  I examined all the sites that
mention both names, and none of them indicate Weil had any familiarity
with Weber's work.

I will track down a copy of Weil's book, "Seventy Letters" and see
what I can find out for you regarding Weber.  This is not what you
call "mainstream press" so it may take a few days (or more!) to get
back to you.  When I post a clarification to the answer here, you
should get an email notification (unless you opted not to receive
these) to let you know there is new information.

Thank you again for a challenging question.  


Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 19 Mar 2003 03:44 PST
Hello Rosmar-ga.

Thanks for the kind words, tip, rating -- it's all appreciated.

I just wanted to let you know that I haven't found the "Letters" book
yet, but I'm still looking.  I did check two other Weil books but they
were on religious rather than social themes, so it was no surprise
that Weber wasn't mentioned.

If the "Letters" book shows up, I'll post an update here.

All the best.
rosmar-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
This service was fast and provided excellent documentation, which made
me feel very confident in the answers provided.  I will definitely use
this service again.

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