what is a philosopher?

Posted by Daniela Elza on May 18 2010

The New York Times today has a pieces on What is a Philosopher? by Simon Critchley.

“Socrates tells the story of Thales, who was by some accounts the first philosopher. He was looking so intently at the stars that he fell into a well. Some witty Thracian servant girl is said to have made a joke at Thales’ expense — that in his eagerness to know what went on in the sky he was unaware of the things in front of him and at his feet.”

“The freedom of the philosopher consists in either moving freely from topic to topic or simply spending years returning to the same topic out of perplexity, fascination and curiosity.”

“Nurtured in freedom and taking their time, there is something dreadfully uncanny about the philosopher, something either monstrous or god-like or indeed both at once.”

Of course I would be interested in this. I also enjoyed it from the point of view that we can attribute the same sentiments to the poet. The similarities are startling— the taking time (perhaps in our world making time, or stopping time for a bit), taking freedom in their hands (instead of waiting for freedom to be given to them), and dwelling in things out of perplexity, curiosity and wonder, dwelling outside the social norms and conventions that govern public life.

Now, I would like to engage in a pursuit of What is a Poet? Feel free to philosophize.

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