Simone Weil and the dangerous Myths of Science and Technology
Keywords:Simone Weil, Bureaucratic State, Freedom, Science, Totalitarianism, Uprootedness
In this article I aim to clarify the role of science and technology in Weil's account of the formation and maintenance of the bureaucratic state as a totalitarian form of State, which allows to identify the similarities between capitalist, fascist and communist regimes. In the first section I characterize Weil's conception of modernity. Having The Need for Roots as my main reference, first, I reconstruct Weil's conceptualization of human nature, after I explore the meanings and signs of uprootedness and Weil's critique of Marxism. In the second section, I analyze the relationship between Revolution, Totalitarianism and the invention of the bureaucratic State. I retake Weil's critique of Marx and the Marxists arguing that science and technology must be subjected to a new criticism today, for they have been reduced to mere means of a totalitarian logic, which ultimately reinforces social oppression. I conclude by rescuing Weil's defense of the fundamental value of individual freedom and of thought, for our humanity lies in it.
Arendt, Hannah. 1998. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Arendt, Hannah. 1973. The Origins of Totalitarianism. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
Arendt. Hannah. 1965. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil. New York: The Viking Press.
Aristotle. 1934. Nicomachean Ethics. In Aristotle in 23 Volumes. Vol. 19, translated by H. Rackham. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Online at: https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0054
Clark, Mitchell. 2023. "Twitter takes its algorithm ‘open-source,' as Elon Musk promised". The Verge, https://www.theverge.com/2023/3/31/23664849/twitter-releases-algorithm-musk-open-source
Edelstein, Dan. 2009. The Terror of Natural Right – Republicanism, the Cult of Nature & the French Revolution. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Feuerbach, Friedrich. 1881. The Essence of Christianity. Edinburgh: Ballantine, Hanson and Co. Online at: https://files.libcom.org/files/The Essence of Christianity.pdf
Freeden, Michael. 2003. Ideology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ford, Casey. 2020. "Captured Time: Simone Weil's Vital Temporarily Against the State." In Simone Weil, Beyond Ideology?, edited by Sophie Bourgault and Julie Daigle, 161-184. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hellman, John. 1982. Simone Weil – an Introduction to her thought. Ontario: Wilfried Laurier University Press.
Marx, Karl. Capital. 2013. Volume I and II. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions.
Marx. Karl. 2015. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Saint Paul: Wilder Publications.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1966. Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for One and All, trans. Walter Kaufmann, New York: Penguin.
Nunes da Costa, Marta. 2021. "Hostis humani generis: métamorphoses d'un concept jusqu'au contexte révolutionnaire." Intelligere, (11), 1-21.
Nunes da Costa, Marta. Forenames 2016. From Marx to Hegel: Recovering (to Transcend) our Still Modern Condition. In: Hegel, Marx and the Contemporary world, edited by Kaveh Boveiri, Emmanuel Chaput and Arnaud Theurillat-Cloutier, 170-185. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 2002. The Social Contract and The First and Second Discourses. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Sainato, Michael. 2020. "'I'm not a robot': Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse." The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/05/amazon-workers-protest-unsafe-grueling-conditions-warehouse
Standing, Guy 2014. The precariat: The New Dangerous Class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Thomas, Paul. 2008. Marxism and Scientific Socialism – From Engels to Althusser. New York: Routledge.
Weil, Simone. 1978. Lectures on Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Weil, Simone. 1962. Selected Essays 1934-43. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Weil, Simone. 2002. The Need for Roots – Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind. New York: Routledge.
Weil, Simone. 2004. Oppression and Liberty. New York: Routledge.
Wendling. Amy E. 2009. Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Zaretsky, Robert. 2021. The subversive Simone Weil: a Life in five Ideas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Labyrinth
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
After acceptation of the paper, the author has to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement granting to Labyrinth and Axia Academic Publishers the exclusive copyrights for the online and printed editions, and to deal with reprint requests from third parties. On special occasions, articles and studies published in Labyrinth may be republished in textbooks or collective works of Axia Academic Publishers as well as translated and published in other languages. By submitting a paper to Labyrinth, you implicitely agree with these conditions.