Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

James H. Robb

Second Advisor

Keith Algozin

Third Advisor

Michael McNulty

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Tallon

Fifth Advisor

Michael G. Vater


Simone Weil: Contributions Toward A Critique Of Science is an exposition of Simone Weil's thoughts on science. Her thought on science is scattered throughout various works. A comprehensive exposition requires a focus; in this dissertation the focus is provided by Weil's notion of the human good. A human being's relation to other human beings, to the world, and to God are all capable of analysis on the basis of the human good which is, for Weil, the joy of the real. Human experience of the joy of the real is a function of genuine liberty, a fundamental liberty in which the human being's faculty of thought is united with desire in the act by which he takes possession of the world. Much of this dissertation is devoted to discussing Weil's idea of liberty. Science can be a means of uniting thought with desire. The extent to which science enables ordinary human beings to experience the joy of the real is the extent to which it contributes to fundamental human liberty and, thus, the extent to which it is an authentic science. Authentic science cannot be in conflict with authentic religion. Part of this dissertation is devoted to saying what counts as authentic science and authentic religion for Weil. Ultimately, authentic science is a faithful companion to authentic religion. Religion and science both have proper roles to play in directing each other towards authenticity. There are difficulties in Weil's critique of science. An effort is made here to show the nub of these difficulties. In sum, Weil's idea of science is comprised of a Pythagorean/Platonic view of the universe joined with an appreciation of labor as man's ordinary, primary contact with reality.



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