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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
philosopher's stone
▪ She also has an aunt who as a girl in Oxford knew several famous philosophers.
▪ Among the elite who rose out of its membership was the exceedingly influential and famous philosopher Aristotle.
▪ In fact most of the most famous Athenian philosophers and writers were critics and opponents of the democracy.
▪ The great philosophers have always produced such a person-oriented account at least for those whose education was thought to matter.
▪ In a way, scientists have a great advantage over philosophers and theologians.
▪ Nietzsche is hardly read now as a serious philosopher and his influence on writers and artists was always greater than on philosophers.
▪ Salmon had at one point actually hinted that the great philosopher Henri Bergson might write a preface for the exhibition.
▪ A chief example of these moral philosophers is R.M. Hare.
▪ They are, in fact, just the kind of thing the natural philosopher might be interested in.
▪ Coupled with his close association with medicine, it explains why he decided to follow the career of scientist and natural philosopher.
▪ When natural philosophers referred to laws of nature, they were not glibly choosing that metaphor.
▪ Galileo was no sailor, but he knew of the longitude problem-as did every natural philosopher of his day.
▪ He also denies the argument of the natural philosophers that heavy bodies are attracted toward the center of the earth.
▪ Side-by-side with the political philosophers was the work of the sociologists, represented in Britain most eminently by Ralf Dahrendorf.
▪ Even among economists and political philosophers, public services rarely lose their connotation of burden.
▪ Thought himself something of a political philosopher.
▪ It notes disagreements and differences among both political philosophers and teachers.
▪ But remember the opinion of John Stuart Mill, a political philosopher much respected by the early Economist.
▪ Plato can reasonably be thought of as the most radically and implacably anti-democratic of all political philosophers.
▪ But most of the philosophers who have written about and explored the nature of being have not been so crude.
▪ Salmon had at one point actually hinted that the great philosopher Henri Bergson might write a preface for the exhibition.
▪ the ancient Greek philosophers
▪ Child was of course accepting a degree of relativism which was usually an anathema to philosophers.
▪ Ink wasn't advocating Bott as a philosopher.
▪ Relativism is not an attractive proposition to anyone, least of all philosophers, because everything becomes so uncertain and transitory.
▪ The philosopher, who had told me earlier he was a back-sliding Episcopalian, glanced at me apprehensively.
▪ This explains why so many philosophers have supported theoretical hedonism.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Philosopher \Phi*los"o*pher\, n. [OE. philosophre, F. philosophe, L. philosophus, Gr. ?; ? loving + ? wise. Cf. Philosophy.]

  1. One who philosophizes; one versed in, or devoted to, philosophy.

    Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him.
    --Acts xvii. 18.

  2. One who reduces the principles of philosophy to practice in the conduct of life; one who lives according to the rules of practical wisdom; one who meets or regards all vicissitudes with calmness.

  3. An alchemist. [Obs.]

    Philosopher's stone, an imaginary stone which the alchemists formerly sought as instrument of converting the baser metals into gold.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

from Old English philosophe, from Latin philosophus "philosopher," from Greek philosophos "philosopher, sage, one who speculates on the nature of things and truth," literally "lover of wisdom," from philos "loving" (see -phile) + sophos "wise, a sage" (see sophist). Modern form with -r appears early 14c., from an Anglo-French or Old French variant of philosophe, with an agent-noun ending.\nPythagoras was the first who called himself philosophos, instead of sophos, 'wise man,' since this latter term was suggestive of immodesty. [Klein] \nPhilosophy also was used of alchemy in Middle Ages, hence Philosophers' stone (late 14c., translating Medieval Latin lapis philosophorum, early 12c.), a reputed solid substance supposed by alchemists to change baser metals into gold or silver; also identified with the elixir and thus given the attribute of prolonging life indefinitely and curing wounds and disease. (French pierre philosophale, German der Stein der Weisen).


n. 1 A person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy. 2 (context obsolete English) An alchemist.

  1. n. a specialist in philosophy

  2. a wise person who is calm and rational; someone who lives a life of reason with equanimity


A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy, which involves rational inquiry into areas that are outside of either theological dogma or science. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek (philosophos) meaning "lover of wisdom". Its origination has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.

In the classical sense, a philosopher was someone who lived according to a certain way of life, focusing on resolving existential questions about the human condition, and not someone who discourses upon theories or comments upon authors. Typically, these particular brands of philosophy are Hellenistic ones and those who most arduously commit themselves to this lifestyle may be considered philosophers.

In a modern sense, a philosopher is an intellectual who has contributed in one or more branches of philosophy, such as aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, social theory, and political philosophy. A philosopher may also be one who worked in the humanities or other sciences which have since split from philosophy proper over the centuries, such as the arts, history, economics, sociology, psychology, linguistics, anthropology, theology, and politics.

Usage examples of "philosopher".

That teaching we have inherited from those ancient philosophers who have best probed into soul and we must try to show that our own doctrine is accordant with it, or at least not conflicting.

The philosopher, perchance, may be accounted so, but it is at the cost of too precious sacrifices at the phantom shrine of Liberty.

Post-humanism schooled us to think in terms of fits and starts, of structures accreting along unspoken patterns, following the lines first suggested by the ancient Terran philosopher llya Prigogine.

If the sacerdotal laws allowed the reservation of judgments and the allegory of words, I would accept the proposed dignity on condition that I might be a philosopher at home, and abroad a narrator of apologues and parables.

A philosopher, liberal of his wealth and parsimonious of his time, might be insensible to the common allurements of ambition, the thirst of gold and employment.

The philosopher, who considered the system of polytheism as a composition of human fraud and error, could disguise a smile of contempt under the mask of devotion, without apprehending that either the mockery, or the compliance, would expose him to the resentment of any invisible, or, as he conceived them, imaginary powers.

Grecian, surely he would never so far misspend his precious time, and squander his precious intellect upon old dusty quarrels, never of more value to a philosopher than a tempest in a wash-hand bason, but now stuffed with obscurities which no man can explain, and with lies to which no man can bring the counter-statement.

Nowadays, most philosophers of physics, the most mature of the sciences, have distanced themselves from scientific realism, adopting views closer to those of Cardinal Bellarmine than of Galileo.

No, for the man who kills himself from sheer despair, thus performing upon himself the execution of the sentence he would have deserved at the hands of justice cannot be blamed either by a virtuous philosopher or by a tolerant Christian.

And when Boron asked him what these corpuscles were, his opponent reminded him that, according to certain ancient Greek philosophers, and other wise Arab theologians, the followers of Kalam, namely, the Motokallimun, one should not think that bodies are solid substances.

These were: the theologian Khalyava, the philosopher Khoma Brut, and the rhetorician Tiberiy Gorobets.

Such was the night when the philosopher Khoma Brut galloped with an incomprehensible rider on his back.

Christian discipline with that of those philosophers in whose teaching some things were exoteric and some esoteric: and it is enough to say that it was so with some of the disciples of Pythagoras.

The difference between the exoteric and the esoteric, formerly known to philosophers - among the Indians as among the Greeks, Persians, and Muslims, in short, wherever one believed in an order of rank and not in equality and equal rights - does not so much consist in this, that the exoteric approach comes from outside and sees, estimates, measures, and judges from the outside, not the inside: what is much more essential is that the exoteric approach sees things from below, the esoteric looks down from above.

Darwin had reversed the usual practice of philosophers and given his esoteric doctrine to the world, while reserving the exoteric for his most intimate and faithful adherents.