Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
An in-depth intellectual history of the origins of philosophy in Ancient Greece centered around the origins of the term “philosopher.”

Moore, Christopher

Calling Philosophers Names

On the Origin of a Discipline


    73,95 € / $84.50 / £66.00*

    eBook (PDF)
    Publication Date:
    Copyright year:
    To be published:
    December 2019
    See all formats and pricing


    Aims and Scope

    An original and provocative book that illuminates the origins of philosophy in ancient Greece by revealing the surprising early meanings of the word "philosopher"

    Calling Philosophers Names provides a groundbreaking account of the origins of the term philosophos or "philosopher" in ancient Greece. Tracing the evolution of the word's meaning over its first two centuries, Christopher Moore shows how it first referred to aspiring political sages and advice-givers, then to avid conversationalists about virtue, and finally to disciplinary investigators who focused on the scope and conditions of those conversations. Questioning the familiar view that philosophers from the beginning "loved wisdom" or merely "cultivated their intellect," Moore shows that they were instead mocked as laughably unrealistic for thinking that their incessant talking and study would earn them social status or political and moral authority.

    Taking a new approach to the history of early Greek philosophy, Calling Philosophers Names seeks to understand who were called philosophoi or "philosophers," and why, and how the use of and reflections on the word contributed to the rise of a discipline. Drawing on a wide range of evidence, the book demonstrates that a word that began in part as a wry reference to a far-flung political bloc, came, hardly a century later, to mean a life of determined self-improvement based on research, reflection, and deliberation. Early philosophy dedicated itself to justifying its own dubious-seeming enterprise. And this original impulse to seek legitimacy holds novel implications for understanding the history of the discipline and its influence.


    352 pages
    1 map

    More ...

    Christopher Moore is associate professor of philosophy and classics at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Socrates and Self-Knowledge.


    "Providing a novel account of the emergence of philosophy as a practice from the early fifth century through Aristotle, this book is set to become a central reference on early Greek thought."—Joshua Billings, Princeton University

    "Extraordinarily rigorous and detailed in its research, this book provides an exciting new perspective on the origins of philosophy in ancient Greece."—Richard Bett, Johns Hopkins University

    Comments (0)

    Please log in or register to comment.
    Log in