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A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Some ...
. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom'. The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker
Pythagoras
Pythagoras
(6th century BCE).. In the
classical
classical
sense, a philosopher was someone who lived according to a certain way of life, focusing upon resolving
existential questions
existential questions
about the human condition; it was not necessary that they discoursed upon
theories
theories
or commented upon authors. Those who most arduously committed themselves to this lifestyle would have been considered ''philosophers''. In a modern sense, a philosopher is an intellectual who contributes to one or more branches of philosophy, such as
aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics, is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines aesthetic values, ...

aesthetics
,
ethics
ethics
,
epistemology
epistemology
, philosophy of science,
logic
logic
,
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality, the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity, and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of conscio ...

metaphysics
, social theory, philosophy of religion, and
political philosophy
political philosophy
. A philosopher may also be someone who has worked in the
humanities
humanities
or other sciences which over the centuries have split from philosophy, such as the arts,
history
history
,
economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and intera ...

economics
,
sociology Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of Empirical ...
,
psychology Psychology is the science, scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immens ...

psychology
,
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguis ...

linguistics
,
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, societies, and linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because i ...
,
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the ...
, and
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

politics
.


History

The separation of philosophy and science from theology began in Greece during the 6th century BC.
Thales
Thales
, an astronomer and mathematician, was considered by Aristotle to be the first philosopher of the Greek tradition. While
Pythagoras
Pythagoras
coined the word, the first known elaboration on the topic was conducted by
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...

Plato
. In his '' Symposium'', he concludes that
love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of ...

love
is that which lacks the object it seeks. Therefore, the philosopher is one who seeks wisdom; if he attains wisdom, he would be a sage. Therefore, the philosopher in antiquity was one who lives in the constant pursuit of wisdom, and living in accordance to that wisdom. Disagreements arose as to what living philosophically entailed. These disagreements gave rise to different Hellenistic schools of philosophy. In consequence, the ancient philosopher thought in a tradition. As the ancient world became schism by philosophical debate, the competition lay in living in a manner that would transform his whole way of living in the world. According to the Classicist Pierre Hadot, the modern conception of a philosopher and philosophy developed predominantly through three changes: The first is the natural inclination of the philosophical mind. Philosophy is a tempting discipline which can easily carry away the individual in analyzing the universe and abstract theory. The second is the historical change throughout the Medieval era. With the rise of Christianity, the philosophical way of life was adopted by its theology. Thus, philosophy was divided between a way of life and the conceptual, logical, physical, and metaphysical materials to justify that way of life. Philosophy was then the servant to theology. The third is the sociological need with the development of the university. The modern university requires professionals to teach. Maintaining itself requires teaching future professionals to replace the current faculty. Therefore, the discipline degrades into a technical language reserved for specialists, completely eschewing its original conception as a way of life. Many philosophers still emerged from the Classical tradition, as saw their philosophy as a way of life. However, with the rise of the university, the modern conception of philosophy became more prominent. Many of the esteemed philosophers of the eighteenth century and onward have attended, taught, and developed their works in university. In the modern era, those attaining advanced degrees in philosophy often choose to stay in careers within the educational system as part of the wider professionalisation process of the discipline in the 20th century. According to a 1993 study by the National Research Council (as reported by the American Philosophical Association), 77.1% of the 7,900 holders of a PhD in philosophy who responded were employed in educational institutions (
academia
academia
). Various prizes in philosophy exist; including the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, the Rolf Schock Prizes the Avicenna Prize and the Berggruen Philosophy Prize. Some philosophers have also won the Nobel Prize in Literature and The John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity. Outside academia, philosophers may employ their writing and reasoning skills in other careers, such as medicine, bioethics, business, publishing, free-lance writing, media, and law.


See also

* Lists of philosophers


Notes


References

* * {{Authority control Humanities occupations