Not Your Average Philosopher: The FW22 Issue

What constitutes a philosopher? Surely we do not wish to restrict the practice of reason to the lofty towers of academia. Antonio Gramsci famously remarked in the Prison Notebooks, “everyone is a philosopher, though in his own way and unconsciously, since even in the slightest manifestation of any intellectual activity whatever, in ‘language,’ there is contained a specific conception of the world.” No one merely observes the world taking in and processing raw sense-data. Humans always possess some larger conception of the world and the significance of life. Yet, philosophy should not be conflated with mere reflection either. Hence, the second step of Gramsci’s philosopher: one must “work out consciously and critically one’s own conception of the world and thus, in connection with the labours of one’s own brain, choose one’s sphere of activity, take an active part in the creation of the history of the world, be one’s own guide, refusing to accept passively and supinely from outside the moulding of one’s personality.” Even if they lack the professional title, true philosophers critically assess their idea of the world and their place in it. People who present a unique picture of existence ought to be looked at for philosophical insight regardless of discipline. Our undertaking in this issue was to do just that: find philosophers in unusual places. From Seinfeld to Milton Friedman, this issue’s authors dug into unique works to glean valuable perspectives on the human condition. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them. And hopefully you leave with a greater imperative to seek out wisdom in unexpected places.

-Max Servetar and Noelle Norona, Editors-in-Chief