We explain to you what is the etymology of the concept «philosophy». Also, the different definitions and discussions about this term according to various philosophers.

Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze maintains that the lover of wisdom is the one who wants to possess it.

The word “philosophy” has its origin in the Greek philosophy (φιλοσοφία). philosophy It is a Greek voice whose form is given from the union of –philos (φίλος), which translates as “friend” or “lover”, and –sophia (σοφία), understood as “wisdom”. Thus, the most common translation of philosophy it is “love of wisdom” or “love of knowledge.”

See also: Philosophical knowledge

Discussions about meaning

The term philosophy consists of roots -philos Y –sophia. The sense around sophia it does not arouse much suspicion: it is generally “wisdom.” This is so because the philosopher is associated with the figure of the wise man: he does not possess knowledge but seeks it.

Most of the discussions about the meaning of “philosophy” occur around philosphrase that has its origin in the verb philein (φιλεῖν), which means “to love”. Although this is not confusing, it is often forgotten that in the Greek world love understood as philein It was not an exclusively romantic love, but it could be the love of friends. Although this distinction seems a matter of taste, it is not a minor issue, since there is a difference between the lover and the friend.

Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995), contemporary French philosopher, argues that the lover of wisdom is the one who wants to possess it, while the friend is the one who wants it but never reaches it. In What is philosophy?published together with Félix Guattari (1930-1992) in 1991, Deleuze affirms that, for the Greeks, the philosopher was not the wise man, since the philosophers, understood as the friends of wisdom, did not possess it formally, but rather They were always looking for you.

You may be interested:  Nellie Campobello

This way of understanding philosophy etymologically is reflected, for example, in figures such as Socrates (470-399 BC). In Socrates Apology, by Plato, he put the famous phrase “I only know that I know nothing” into the mouth of his teacher. This sentence should be understood as the affirmation of someone who, recognizing himself as ignorant, yearns, seek and accompany wisdom as one who seeks the company of a friend.

J.-F. Lyotard (1924-1998), French philosopher, explains in Why philosophize? (1989) that philosophy takes its origin from desire. There, recovering the origin of the god Eros, born of poverty and abundance, he maintains that the desire for philosophy is exactly that: the double condition of those who continuously seek, longing for what they are looking for, but can never reach it.

Continue with: Aristotelian thought


  • Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., & Kauf, T. (2001). What is philosophy?. Barcelona: Anagram.
  • Lyotard, JF, & Veiga, JM (1989). Why philosophize?: four lectures. Paidos.
  • Greek, DM (1967). Classical Greek-Spanish. vox