OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society

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OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 7 , No. 2

[ Special Issue ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.41-59
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date Jan 2017
Received 03 Dec 2016 Revised 05 Dec 2016 Accepted 06 Jan 2017

A Limitation of Multicultural Education from Simone Weil’s Understanding of Justice
Kazuaki Yoda
Waseda University (

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This paper brings to light a critical limitation of multicultural education finding insights in Simone Weil’s understanding of justice. Weil distinguishes justice as rights from justice as compassion. While today’s discourse of justice mainly concerns the former, she claims justice in the latter sense is crucial. Weil points that the fight for justice tends to fall into a competition for rights and power, and the competitive attitude not only has us forget compassion but it also hinders our compassionate response to others and hence genuine justice. The dimensions of multicultural education such as equity, equality, and cultural representation, are generally debated with the language of rights, which drives us to concern power and privilege, degrades what is fought for, and degenerates the fight itself. It thus forecloses the possibility of justice. For Weil justice originates in the recognition of the common human condition among people in different cultures and circumstances rather than the recognition of cultural identity, emphasizing the value of difference and diversity, which is usually multiculturalism’s main focus.

Keywords: multicultural education, justice, compassion, rights, love, Simone Weil

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Biographical Note

Kazuaki Yoda completed his Ph.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University, Program of Philosophy and Education, Department of Arts and Humanities. Since 2015 he has been teaching part time at Waseda University in Tokyo. His research interests include the philosophies of Simone Weil, Plato, and Wittgenstein, as well as the history of philosophy, ethics, foundation of education, and higher education. In 2016, he received a grant from the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education for his research on Simone Weil’s philosophy and its educational implication. E-mail: