Steven Hernandez, a senior at Rutgers University, explained why he was drawn to major in Philosophy: “It’s the only thing that scratches my intellectual itch. It is pure abstraction and theory, and no claims are ever dismissed outright. Done right, it is the purest form of academic endeavor.” Steve serves as the treasurer of the Rutgers University Philosophy Club and is also President of Phi Sigma Tau, the National Honor Society in Philosophy. Every so often, he attends meetings of The Rutgers Creative Writing Club to satisfy his appetite for writing.
After graduating from Rutgers, Steve plans to attend graduate school to earn an advanced degree in Philosophy. His goal is to be a professor and scholar. “I think I have original insights regarding the philosophy of art and literature, and a talent for logic,” he said. “I’d also like to help students refine their philosophical chops—the professors I’ve had who turned me onto the field gave me the tools to analyze not just pure argument, but my own beliefs, self, and the beliefs of the people around me. The quest and unbiased commitment to some type of objective truth is a desire I want both to cultivate in myself and instill in others.”
Steve enjoys reading, writing fiction and philosophy, traveling, and gaming on his PS4.
The scariest thing he’s ever done is spend the night in the Lizzie Borden house in which her family was murdered with an axe. Steve’s girlfriend, Nicole, an avid ghost hunter, thought that a night in that house would shake his skepticism. After their tour of the house, the two went to their room and Nicole brought out a Ouija board. They placed their hands on the planchette and Nicole asked the room if there was anyone there who wanted to talk. There was no response to her first request, but at the second request, Steve said, “I felt that little heart-shaped piece of plastic being pulled—not pushed—from a vacant corner of the board. I shook with fright and disbelief, quickly regained my composure as the reality of the event set in, then spent the rest of the night ‘speaking’ with Abigail Borden—a certified spirit.” Steve was converted “for about three days, when I came up with an explanation that dashed Nicole’s supernatural hopes.”
Academically, Steve is interested in problems of sexuality, gender, sex, and how those elements factor into personal identity. But there is another reason he wanted to take part in Writing Wrongs 2019:
I want to make a positive change in the LGBTQ+ dialectic. I think these kinds of personal identity issues—why should homosexuality be such a dominant personality trait while heterosexuality often is not?—are important to understand in order to make the kind of grand cultural change that is necessary to normalize the wider conception of gender and sexuality—to distance both notions from the strict binary norms that have dominated the concepts for most of human history (in most places around the globe). I hope to help redirect the conversation away from focusing on the human-interest stories as just members of the LGBTQ+ community, or just people who slap one or two of those letters on their chest, and recognizing that being gay or non-binary ought to be as normal a personality trait as having the favorite color red, and the degree to which those traits identify any particular person will undoubtedly vary person to person.