This paper introduces Simone Weil’s notion of reading and some of its implications to education. Weil’s philosophy, in particular her notion of attention has caught interest of some education scholars; however, the existing studies are still underdeveloped. Introducing Weil’s notion of reading, which has not been studied almost at all by educationists but its significance is well-recognized by Weil scholars, I intend to set forth a more nuanced understanding of Weil’s attention that is necessary to further discuss Weil’s potential contribution to education research. Attention to other people, hence love of others, is reframed as “reading better.” We read better not simply by purifying our reading through detachment and self-negation, which is how the notion of attention is often understood and thus found problematic, but by incorporating multiple perspectives (readings) and finding balance among them. Learning to read better, then, is not merely inward effort of detachment done through introspection, but it also necessarily involves outward effort of working with other people and the world. It is through interacting with others, we may learn our own readings, recognize others’ readings, and seeking for just balance among them. This latter element which has been greatly dismissed is indispensable for any serious discussions of Weil’s philosophy in education.
- Simone Weil
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