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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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What Philosophos Could Have Meant: A Lexical Account

What Philosophos Could Have Meant: A Lexical Account

A New Route to an Etymology

(p.66) 3 What Philosophos Could Have Meant: A Lexical Account
Calling Philosophers Names

Christopher Moore

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows what the term philosophos could have meant at the time for which it is attested, and thus what meaning Pythagoras or his followers would have sought to spin in accepting the term for themselves, had they done so. It pays close attention to the peculiar archaic use of phil-prefixed names, their normative valence, their application, or the contribution of their second element to the overall meaning. The chapter also considers the meaning of that particular second element, soph-, at the end of the sixth century BCE. This chapter thus begins by turning again to Cicero's version of the Pythagoras story. It looks in more detail to a non-Heraclidean but probably still fourth-century BCE version, found in Diodorus Siculus, which in effect dramatizes the thesis of this book: that the word philosophos was formed in reference to sophoi considered as “sages.”

Keywords:   philosophos, sophoi, Pythagoras, prefixes, Cicero, Diodorus Siculus, lexical account

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