Varieties of Philosophical Experience in the Fourth Century
This chapter addresses non-academic uses of philosophia in the fourth century BCE, which provides the background against which one can understand Heraclides' use of the term. It shows how philosophia became a discipline in Plato's Academy only by understanding how the term philosophia was being used elsewhere. The key context comes from the educators Alcidamas, Isocrates, and the author of the Dissoi Logoi. The chapter shows that there is less reason to say that these educators competed over “ownership” of the term philosophos (even if at times they may have) or its true and universal meaning than that they gave varying retrospective reconstructions of the term's usage, differing, for example, in the relative emphases they give to practical teaching over the defensibility of research outcomes. To the extent that the academic view of philosophia “won,” this is not because that view was truer or more convincing, but because the Academy instigated a continued discipline that called itself philosophia more than Alcidamas or Isocrates did, neither of whom appear to have had success or interest in developing the sort of well-populated discipline crucial for maintaining a name.
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