“Philosophus, ut meditatur, ita proponit” are the words that Baumgarten wrote in 1735, at the birth of aesthetics, about the appropriate attitude of the seeker of meaning, .
The words of the German philosopher well define the general conviction that, when we speak of philosophy, reflection on the forms of expression is subordinate to the exercise of thinking itself. It is certainly true that the search for meaning was carried out by resorting to multiple forms of expression (confessions, dialogues, aphorisms), but these manifestations of the spirit have almost always been understood as subordinate ways which, in order to be fully understood, require recourse to the clarity of the concept and the expressive form corresponding to it—that is, the essayistic form.
In an article of 1945, published three years later in Sens et non-sens, Merleau-Ponty in some ways took note of the end of a world centered on the indisputability of the rational structure and on the exclusivity of the corresponding essayistic form. To celebrate the end of this world and to baptize the new modalities of the search for meaning, the French philosopher called into question the “modes d’expression hybrids”, the “hybrid modes of expression”.
Today we are in a privileged position because, having passed several decades since Merleau-Ponty’s analysis, we can attempt a synthesis. What has changed since then? Actually, even today, we still believe that the search for meaning—the serious one!—must be accomplished taking into account and respecting the traditional canons of putting into shape. In the light of this approach, the very questioning of forms appears to be an operation which is certainly permitted, but which is essentially useless.
So, we want to start questioning ourselves on this matter and, to do so, we thought of talking to Elena Casagrande, editor-in-chief of La Chiave di Sophia, a magazine that in the last years has been successfully engaged in the field of philosophical dissemination.
The encounter with Elena Casagrande and the editorial staff of the magazine will be an opportunity, offered primarily to students of the course in Philosophical Anthropology at the University of Pisa, to take stock of these issues and to try to answer the question of what are now the most effective ways to make philosophy.