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Lottie Eriksson

Simone Weil was the most important thinker of the 20th century according to the existential philosopher Albert Camus.
But the ability of Weil's philosophy to offer constructive perspectives on health has been the subject of far too little research. Lottie Eriksson, doctoral student in systematic theology seizes upon this in her doctoral thesis.

Who was Simone Weil?
– She is a thinker who above all is associated with radical solidarity principles. Weil, who lived during the first half of the 20th century, advocated solidarity with the working class and with other marginalised groups. She left her employment as a teacher to work in a factory and this experience had a great influence on her philosophy. Her uncompromising lifestyle in solidarity with those afflicted by the war affected her choice of housing, what she ate and how she acted.

– However, what one might call the myth around Simone Weil's life, also has a tendency to obscure her ideas.

Your interest in Weil's thinking has points of contact with medical humanities?
– I want to emphasise the healing elements in her ethics which, according to my present hypothesis, have been overlooked in research on Weil.

– Of particular interest to her is the important concept of attention. Weil argues that one through attention can be made aware of what another human being needs in a certain situation.

– A central aspect within the context of healing and health is that the human being has an ability to improve her attention through practice.

– Weil has also written extensively on suffering and on its trenchant influence on the sufferer. In my view Weil understands suffering as part of the lot of humankind. Since we are living in a society where we believe that we can influence what we are afflicted by – including diseases and suffering – I believe that Weil's philosophy can offer important perspectives.

Personal Facts

Position: doctoral student in systematic theology at the University of Gothenburg
Age: 39 years 
Family: married, one child
Research interests: theology, ethics, philosophy, concept of humankind and consumption
Propelling force: The creative opportunity that exists in merging ideas from different contexts.
Leisure interests: art, literature and poetry

[Interview by Daniel Brodén and published 2017-10-03]

Contact Information

Centre for Culture and Health

Box 200, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

Page Manager: Lovisa Aijmer|Last update: 10/3/2017

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-07-10