Jonathan Egid - Biography
Hi, I’m Jonathan. I was born in South East London and raised in a small village in deepest Warwickshire, the home of the last Anglo-Saxon bishop and seven pubs of varying quality. I write essays, book, album and exhibition reviews for publications like the TLS, New Humanist, Philosophy, 42 Magazine, Radical Philosophy. These essays and reviews cover a pretty eclectic range of topics, from liberalism to life-writing to trap music and Jewish humour, but in all of them I’m interested in how people struggle – and sometimes even succeed – in giving voice to their anxieties, ideas and aporias, and with how to understand the overwhelming diversity of these ideas and voices. I like the old proverb, one of Wittgenstein’s favourites, that “it takes many sorts to make a world”.
I'm writing a PhD at King's College London, supervised by Sara Marzagora and Toby Green on the Hatata Zera Yacob (see here) a 17th century philosophical autobiography from Ethiopia, exploring Ethiopian literature and history writing, oriental scholarship in the shadow of empire, Ge'ez philology and varieties of philosophical rationalism and critique. One major aim of the project, besides bringing these neglected works to a wider audience, is to use the Hatata to think about different ways of writing the history of philosophy, in particular what a truly global history of philosophy would look like.
Before starting at King’s, I worked as a tutor in a Greek language school, a convent in Hampstead and the suburbs of north London. This involved a lot of walking. Before that I read for the BPhil in Philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, where I wrote a thesis about ‘the anxiety of alternatives’ and conceptual relativism with Prof A.W Moore, arguing that Donald Davidson and Jonathan Lear are wrong about the impossibility of radically divergent conceptual schemes, and that Kant’s transcendental idealism, sufficiently tweaked, gives us a way of understanding how radical conceptual difference is possible in a shared reality.
Before that I lived in a small village called Ξηρό Χωριό where I read lots of Nikos Kazantzakis and drank raki. And before that I studied at the University of Kent in Canterbury, graduating with a triple-prized first in philosophy, having spent a year as an exchange student at the Université Paris IV – la Sorbonne.
Some of the writers I love most are: Amos Oz, Vassily Grossman, Nikos Kazantzakis, Ursula le Guin, John Berger, Milan Kundera, Zadie Smith, Isaac Babel, W.G Sebald. Musically I like Psarantonis, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Debussy, Mulatu Astatke, Kendrick Lamar, Zohar Argov. My favourite places in the world are Mull, Ein Gedi and Sfakia, where the above photograph was taken.