philosophy = a word//Pericles = Athenian
Philosophy, a word used in all European languages, comes from the Greek philosophia or "love of knowledge, wisdom," from philo- "loving" + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned." According to Cicero and Diogenes Laertius, Pythagoras first invented the word from philia tes sophias, φιλια της σοφιασ love of wisdom.
Wisdom itself, Pythagoras argued, belongs to God alone. To be called a wise man was blasphemous and showed hubris. He preferred to be called a lover of wisdom.
Pericles, during a speech to commemorate those who died in the Peloponnesian wars, called the Athenians lovers of beauty and wisdom: philokalein & philosophein. Below is the paragraph in which the words appear:
"If we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful in our tastes and our strength lies, in our opinion, not in deliberation and discussion, but that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense both of the pains and pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger." From: Thucydides The Peloponnesian War (Book 2.34-46)
The speech as a whole is an extraordinary manifesto of a society seemingly at peace with itself and not a little proud of it, setting itself up as a model. Whether Pericles was describing Athens and Athenians as he found them or whether he was exhorting his subjects to better themselves is an interesting question, but one that can be left to the historians. Athens certainly became a model both on the basis of historical veracity and groundless myth. Whatever the case, the speech is beautiful and thoughtful and well worth reading. What I particularly enjoy is the emphasis on thinking and discussion as a preparation to well-considered action.
The full essay can be read in manuscript version in the book A Good Use [AND] A Generous thinking
This essay sets out a number of theses regarding the purpose, the focus, the method, the problems and the traps that philosophy becomes involved with.
Selected bibliography of other people's ideas as to what philosophy is....to them.
|Alain Badiou, The Definition of Philosophy in: Infinite Thought, Truth and the Return to Philosophy, (2005)|
Arthur Coleman Danto, What Philosophy is: Guide to the Elements (1971)
|Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (1912)|
|Charles Sanders Peirce, Principles of philosophy, In Vol. 1 of the Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (1960)|
|Claude Lévi Strauss, Het Wilde Denken (1968)|
|Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, Qu'est-ce que la philosophie, (1994) transl. What is philosophy?|
|Jacques Maritain, An introduction to philosophy, (1930 transl. 2005)|
Martin Heidegger, Was ist das - die Philosophie (1955) transl. What is Philosophy?
Pierre Hadot, Qu'est-ce que la philosophie antique? (1995) transl. What is Ancient Philosophy?
|Robbert Veen, Filosofie als Gesprek, een inleiding in de systematische wijsbegeerte, (1994)|
Thomas Nagel, What Does it All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy ( 2004)
Selected bibliography of different branches of philsophy: Phenomenology and Existentialism
|Gordon Marino Basic Writings of Existentialism, ( 2004)|
|Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism (2009)|
|Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, A Companion to Heidegger (2007)|
|John MacQuarrie, Existentialism, An Introduction, Guide and Assessment, (1972)|
|Maurice Merleau Ponty, Basic Writings (2004)|
|Maurice Merleau Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (2002)|
|Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zaham, The Phenomenological Mind, An Introduction to Philsophy of Mind and Cognitive Science, (2008)|
|Simon Glendinning, In the name of Phenomenology, (2007)|
|Walther Kaufmann, Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, Basic Writings of Existentialism, (1989 and other editions)|
|William D. Blattner, Heidegger's Being And Time: A Reader's Guide (Reader's Guides) by (2007)|
|For the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger and Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and other notable phenomenologists and existentialists I recommend you build up your own bibliography|
Selected bibliography of different branches of philsophy: Pragmatism/Pragmaticism
|Charles S. Peirce: The Essential Writings (1998)|
|Charles Sanders Peirce, Selected Writings (1958)|
|John Dewey, How we Think (1910)|
|Louis Menand, ed., Pragmatism, A Reader, (1997)|
|Richard Rorty, The Consequences of Pragmatism, (1982)|
|William James : Writings 1902-1910 : The Varieties of Religious Experience / Pragmatism / A Pluralistic Universe / The Meaning of Truth / Some Problems of Philosophy / Essays (1988)|
|William James, Meaning of Truth (2004) (free digital edition)|
|William James, Pragmatism and Other Writings (Penguin Classics, 2000)|
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