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Calling Philosophers NamesOn the Origin of a Discipline$
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Christopher Moore

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195056

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195056.001.0001

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Heraclitus against the Philosophoi

Heraclitus against the Philosophoi

The Earliest Attestation of the Word Philosophos: Heraclitus B35

(p.37) 2 Heraclitus against the Philosophoi
Calling Philosophers Names

Christopher Moore

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues for the “lexical precondition” for Heraclides' story: the existence of the word philosophos at the time of Pythagoras or at least in the period of the early Pythagorean generations. The evidence is a fragment from Heraclitus, quoted by Clement of Alexandria: “philosophical men really quite ought to be researchers into much.” The chapter first argues that there is no reason to doubt Clement's accuracy of quotation for either source-critical or epistemological reasons. It shows, second, that while Heraclitus's use does not support the “explanations” of philosophos found in the Pythagoras stories, it in fact supports the view that the stories imply: that the term was applied, and perhaps with pejorative implication, to the Pythagoreans. Both positions have had their proponents in earlier scholarship, but with a full defense of those positions the chapter reveals their centrality not just for Heraclitean epistemology but for the history of philosophia.

Keywords:   Heraclitus, philosophoi, philosophos, Clement of Alexandria, Pythagoras stories, Heraclitean epistemology

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