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Pythagoras

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The first man to call himself a philosopher (philosophos 'lover of wisdom') is Pythagoras, whose mystical system of mathematics combines some genuine scientific analysis with much other-worldly speculation.
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"The beginnings of Greek philosophy: c.500 BC" at History World

 
Pythagoras

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Pythagoras was indeed the first man to call himself a philosopher. Others before had called themselves wise (sophos), but Pythagoras was the first to call himself a philosopher, literally a lover of wisdom.
More importantly, for Pythagoras and his followers philosophy was not merely an intellectual pursuit, but a way of life, the aim of which was the assimilation to God.

 
Pythagoras
 

To be a philosopher, that is to say, a lover of wisdom (for wisdom is nothing but truth), it is not enough for a man to love truth, in so far as it is compatible with his own interest, with the will of his superiors, with the dogmas of the church, or with the prejudices and tastes of his contemporaries; so long as he rests content with this position, he is only a philantos, not a philosophos [a lover of ego, not a lover of wisdom]. For this title of honor is well and wisely conceived precisely by its stating that one should love the truth earnestly and with one’s whole heart, and thus unconditionally and unreservedly, above all else, and, if need be, in defiance of all else. Now the reason for this is the one previously stated that the intellect has become free, and in this state it does not even know or understand any other interest than that of truth.

 
Arthur Schopenhauer
 

Pythagoras was said to have been the first man to call himself philosopher; in fact, the world is indebted to him for the word philosopher. Before that time the wise men called themselves sages, which was interpreted to mean those who know. Pythagoras was more modest. He coined the word philosopher, which he defined as one who is attempting to find out.

 
Pythagoras
 

The Greek word for philosopher (philosophos) connotes a distinction from sophos. It signifies the lover of wisdom (knowledge) as distinguished from him who considers himself wise in the possession of knowledge. This meaning of the word still endures: the essence of philosophy is not the possession of the truth but the search for truth. … Philosophy means to be on the way. Its questions are more essential than its answers, and every answer becomes a new question.

 
Karl Jaspers
 

A philosopher is a lover of wisdom, not of knowledge, which for all its great uses ultimately suffers from the crippling effect of ephemerality. All knowledge is transient, linked to the world around it and subject to change as the world changes, whereas wisdom, true wisdom is eternal, immutable. To be philosophical one must love wisdom for its own sake, accept its permanent validity and yet its perpetual irrelevance. It is the fate of the wise to understand the process of history and yet never to shape it.

 
Shashi Tharoor
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