Who Is a Philosopher: A Philosophical Journey Through the Ages

21 September 2021

The concepts of philosopher and philosophy are mentioned as very deep subjects. From the past to the present, it has been a collection of information containing a lot of mixed thoughts for people and has always been a matter of curiosity. We can say that philosophy, with its unique subjects and endless fine details, directs the thoughts that should be in the world.


What is a philosopher?

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The word philosopher is known as “Philosophos”, which comes from Ancient Greek. The words “Fila” and “Sophos” mean “lover of wisdom”. The word philosopher, which is of French origin, is used for far-sighted thinkers who contribute to the advancement and development of philosophy in the world. In fact, it is not physical or spiritual states that distinguish philosophers from other people.

The main reason why philosophers are called ‘different’ individuals is their unique thought systems. They are not content with what they hear, see and learn, and they start an internal questioning about every subject. Philosophers, together with these thinking abilities, enter into an endless questioning about abstract events and concepts that cannot be seen without an end.

They have the ability to reveal the problems in situations that seem illogical to the person in the thought system and present them to a wholeness by adapting them to the system that should be. There are many philosophers who focus on all kinds of issues that exist in life, problem or not.

Philosophers consider the meaning of life, the meaning of man, the meaning of existence, right and wrong, happiness, good and bad concepts based on a universal thought system. The philosopher does not accept the information that comes before him without questioning and passing it through his own thought filter.

The philosopher generally sees the problems that occur in the world and concern all humanity as a responsibility on himself. For this reason, he can think of different alternatives or solutions for all kinds of issues. He knows that by thinking about every subject such as art, science, life, politics, with his inner thoughts, the desired satisfaction and wealth will be achieved in this way.


Philosophy and Philosophy Through the Eyes of Philosophers

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The emergence of philosophical thoughts has occurred with the desire to analyze and know the subject that people think. Aristotle explains the invisible difference of a philosopher among people as “a wise personality who knows everything as much as possible and can think about things that are difficult and not easy to be known by people, who knows better the reasons that occur in the name of science and has the power to teach these reasons”. According to him, a philosopher should be able to contain more wisdom than the sciences sought and emerging to know.

According to Descartes, a philosopher should be able to use his mind and thoughts as well as he can. He thinks that in order to do what he knows to be the best at his job, he must have a fairly clear and solid system of thought. In other words, whatever information is available, it is necessary to think about, measure, weigh and examine.

British philosopher David Hume summarizes philosophy from a different point of view. He talks about some features that are thought to exist in everyone; Ego and sense of superiority. According to Hume, philosophers who display arrogant attitudes towards people who want to ask questions in an inquisitive way are ignored and silenced by those who cannot get answers to their questions. Therefore, a philosopher must always maintain his humility and ensure that society does not turn their ideas back as a weapon against them.

For Epictetus, philosophy begins with knowing the importance of reason. In his philosophy, Epictetus starts his system of thought by mentioning that powers such as mind and will, which are not found in animals, are exclusive to humans. According to Epictetus, man is a temporary animal with a mind. He says that the ‘human aspect’ of people who cannot establish their thought system, act without thinking and deprive themselves of thinking is gone.

According to Epictetus, a philosopher should not show the other person that he is knowledgeable by claiming his knowledge. In other words, he mentions that although ‘pretentiousness’ is an act that is not tolerated by the society, it is a very damaging act to appear this way, especially for a philosopher. At the same time, according to him, a philosopher must always be planned. He has to come up with a plan for a job he wants to be involved in so that things don’t get worse at the end of the day.


Who is the first known philosopher in the world?

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The first name accepted as a philosopher in the world is known as Thales. Although the period in which he lived has not been fully clarified, BC. 624 BC It is estimated that he lived between 546 BC. Thales; He is an astronomer, philosopher and mathematician. He is the first philosopher and scientist in history to be mentioned in the sources.

As it can be understood from the fact that he has this title, it is a well-known fact that Thales was the first name to direct and pioneer the development of philosophy and science. He is known as the first of the thinkers known as the “Seven Sages” of Ancient Greece.

The expression “Thales of Miletus” is generally used for Thales. The reason for this is that Thales lives in the district around Aydın in the Aegean Region. According to the past period, it is known by the nickname (Miletos) for a port city located on the sides of Didim district of Aydın.

Although there is little or no information about Thales in the sources, the comments and information of the philosophers who came after Thales gave direction to people. Other philosophers talk about Thales, who is known as the first thinker to initiate philosophy, as a respected and wise person who stands out with his investigative personality. There is a diversity in the sources about Thales’ life and self…

The concept of ‘philosophy’ was not yet used for the subjects on which Thales did research and directed people during his lifetime. But opinions about it being about wisdom have always remained constant.


What did Thales do in the name of philosophy?

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According to various sources, it is said that there are works named “On the Equinox” and “On the Solstice”, where Thales’ philosophical discoveries exist. But his written works have not survived to the present day. There are different interpretations of Thales’ thoughts and inventions, due to the fact that each philosopher has his own thoughts and his own truths.

During and before Thales lived, myths, gods or heroes were often put forward about where the universe and man came from. In particular, the occurrence of various natural events supported people’s belief in legends.

Unlike these thoughts, Thales thought that he could get the answers to his questions from nature. At the same time, Thales sees water as a kind of ‘main substance’. Therefore, he says that the cause, beginning and end of everything is water.

We can say that Thales’ giving certain information to people at extreme points in the field of astronomy compared to his own period proved the fact that he was a knowledgeable thinker by others. Thales was able to announce to the public that an eclipse would take place before the solar eclipse, in his research that he prepared with the help of various fields. It can also calculate the length of distant objects with geometric calculations.

We can state that Thales is a prominent philosopher especially in the field of mathematics. The philosopher, known to be engaged in trade, has been found in Egypt quite a few. It is said that the Egyptians learned geometry and passed it on to the Greeks. The geometry theories he found may appear at points that could not be resolved according to the period. At the same time, these theorems are still used in many fields today.

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