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Attending to Affliction: Simone Weil and “Deaths of Despair”

April 15 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

In recent years, an alarming increase in “deaths of despair” has afflicted this country, and the Rust Belt region has been especially hard hit. As citizens of this region, how ought we understand the causes of this growing epidemic of suicide and drug-related deaths? And how ought we proceed through this difficult thicket? These questions provide an urgent opportunity for the continued practice of a “Rust Belt philosophy”–a pursuit of wisdom that understands that philosophy, as a way of life, must always be practiced in a particular locale with its own history, challenges, and opportunities.

To help understand a possible path forward, we’ll bring to bear the thought of Simone Weil, French philosopher and Catholic mystic. Perhaps an unlikely source of inspiration, we’ll nevertheless consider how Weil’s overall approach to living philosophy, as well as her concepts of “affliction” and “attention”, might be uniquely applicable to the practice of a Rust Belt philosophy. We’ll explore how her life and thinking might shed light on the causes and possible solutions to the despair with which many in this region wrestle.

Speaker bio:
John Lee teaches philosophy at various institutions in Northeast Ohio. His interests include the intersection of faith and philosophy as well as philosophy of technology.


April 15
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Jacob Waldenmaier


Ursuline College
2550 Lander Rd.
Pepper Pike, OH 44124 United States
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