2021-03Thematic Section
“A Certain Way of Thinking”: Derrida, Weil and the Philippi Hymn


Toward the beginning of one of her notebooks, Simone Weil interrupts a dense series of reflections on war, force and prestige to write, in parentheses: “(To think on God, to love God, is nothing else than a certain way of thinking on the world.)” In some respects, this one sentence is a crystallization of everything Weil wrote about God. The thought of God is somehow inseparable from a new mode of attention to and valuation of things “here below”; that is, from “a certain way of thinking.” In the discussion that follows I reflect on how this “certain way of thinking” might be understood, in dialogue with a few exemplary moments from Derrida’s late work, Martin Hägglund’s reading of Derrida, as well as some biblical scholarship on Philippians 2: 5-11, and a number of richly suggestive comments from Weil’s notebooks. I show that the conceptual aporias that, on Derrida’s account, reliably emerge from ethical reflection are inchoately affirmed by Weil and (a certain reading of) the Philippi hymn. More than this, I will suggest that when read in this way, the latter allows for a new interrogation of the role that the experience of conceptual aporia may play in metanoia, the changing of mind.


Derrida, Weil, metanoia, aporia, kenosis, God

How to cite:

Jesson, Stuart. “’A Certain Way of Thinking’: Derrida, Weil and the Philippi Hymn.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 3 (2021):  7-22. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0024.


Stuart Jesson
London Jesuit Centre/The Heythrop Institute
114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH, UK


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