The first person you think of when you are asked of a philosopher is and will most likely be Plato (428-347 BCE, born Aristocles), the classic Greek and the classic thinker. So revered is he that Alfred North Whitehead declared all philosophy beyond Plato to be merely a set of footnotes. With all of this attention and respect, it is only customary that we should name Plato as the paragon of all philosophers, as the philosopher to whom we should all aspire to emulate; however, if we were to ask Plato himself what the perfect philosopher is, he would say it is
“the man who tastes eagerly every kind of learning, who sets himself readily to his lessons and can never have enough, him we shall justly call a lover of wisdom and a philosopher.”
This definition, taken from chapter five of the Republic, depicts the philosopher as a lover of wisdom in its purest form. No longer must we see the philosopher as a scholarly figure, a figure shrouded in mystery, a mystery that shall never be solved; no, the philosopher is one who strives to learn as much as one possibly can, one who realizes that true knowledge is unobtainable yet seeks still to uncover the mysteries of life. As my dad put it one time, all you need to be a philosopher in its truest sense is curiosity and passion. The curious individual will take pleasure in seeking knowledge, in learning, not for an end, but rather wisdom for wisdom’s sake, sapientia gratia sapientiam. The philosopher is the individual who loves what they do and whose thirst for truth will never be quenched, for the philosopher’s pursuit of wisdom is a pursuit with no clear end.