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Calling Philosophers Names: On the Origin of a Discipline

Calling Philosophers Names: On the Origin of a Discipline

by Christopher Moore

Hardcover

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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on December 10, 2019

Overview

An original and provocative book that illuminates the origins of philosophy in ancient Greece by revealing the surprising early meanings of the word "philosopher"

Calling Philosophers Names provides a groundbreaking account of the origins of the term philosophos or "philosopher" in ancient Greece. Tracing the evolution of the word's meaning over its first two centuries, Christopher Moore shows how it first referred to aspiring political sages and advice-givers, then to avid conversationalists about virtue, and finally to disciplinary investigators who focused on the scope and conditions of those conversations. Questioning the familiar view that philosophers from the beginning "loved wisdom" or merely "cultivated their intellect," Moore shows that they were instead mocked as laughably unrealistic for thinking that their incessant talking and study would earn them social status or political and moral authority.

Taking a new approach to the history of early Greek philosophy, Calling Philosophers Names seeks to understand who were called philosophoi or "philosophers," and why, and how the use of and reflections on the word contributed to the rise of a discipline. Drawing on a wide range of evidence, the book demonstrates that a word that began in part as a wry reference to a far-flung political bloc, came, hardly a century later, to mean a life of determined self-improvement based on research, reflection, and deliberation. Early philosophy dedicated itself to justifying its own dubious-seeming enterprise. And this original impulse to seek legitimacy holds novel implications for understanding the history of the discipline and its influence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691195056
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 12/10/2019
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Christopher Moore is associate professor of philosophy and classics at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Socrates and Self-Knowledge.

Hometown:

Hawaii and San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:

August 5, 1958

Place of Birth:

Toledo, Ohio