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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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Pythagoreans as Philosophoi

Pythagoreans as Philosophoi

Pythagoreans in Croton

(p.107) 4 Pythagoreans as Philosophoi
Calling Philosophers Names

Christopher Moore

Princeton University Press

This chapter picks up a claim made in the previous chapter—that a term like philosophos would have been coined in response to certain sorts of unusual activity. It accumulates the earliest evidence that the Pythagoreans would have been excellent targets of this term. This is because their public face was politically notorious and influential, with their cohesion and even efficacy seeming to depend on their pedagogical and research exercises. The chapter thereby develops Walter Burkert's acknowledgment of the organized political side of their existence. Additional evidence comes from what looks to be Aristotle's support of Heraclides' account, if Iamblichus' late citations of Aristotle can be reconstructed correctly. Burkert asserts that Pythagoras was not really a philosopher; what concerns this chapter is only the beliefs that observers had about him and the names that they had reason to call him—since, for his contemporaries, philosophos hardly meant what academic philosophers now mean by “philosopher.”

Keywords:   Iamblichus, philosophos, Pythagoreans, Aristotle, Pythagoras, philosophers, political notoriety, pedagogical exercises, research exercises, organized politics

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