What makes someone a philosopher? When, how, or under what circumstances is the title of philosopher justified?

Wikipedia states that philosophy is the study of reason. If I study reason, am I a philosopher?

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    you need to partcipate in my 4 week philosophy accreditation course, just $999 for members of the philosophy stackexchange!! At the end I will give you a certificate which designates you as a philosopher :) Aug 14 '14 at 23:00
  • I've tried to streamline this a little bit, but feel free to rollback or, ideally, add more detail on the sources like Wikipedia you've come across already in your study
    – Joseph Weissman
    Aug 15 '14 at 0:11
  • It is easy to become a philosopher: On your tax return, write "philosopher" in the box labeled "occupation." + If your spouse fills out the tax forms, have your spouse write "philosopher" in the box labeled "Spouse's occupation." Aug 15 '14 at 3:47

I think this is a great question. Unlike most similar descriptors, philosopher isn't a career. There are philosophers who write philosophy or teach philosophy for a living, but it isn't the fact that they write or teach that makes them philosophers.

It is also unlike artist, poet or musician in as much as a philosopher doesn't necessarily "create" philosophy in the same way as an artist creates art or a poet creates poems.

In addition, many people within the field have held widely different opinions on what constitutes philosophy.

I would personally define a philosopher as a person who advances the work of bridging between the largest, most universal questions and the smallest, most specific answers.


phi·los·o·pher fəˈläsəfər/ noun noun: philosopher; plural noun: philosophers

a person engaged or learned in philosophy, especially as an academic discipline.

so someone who is studying it in a university could be said to be a philosopher [student] someone who teaches it philosopher [teacher].

more generally i'm of the opinion that a "philosopher" is someone who academic philosophers [teachers] agree are engaged in or have learnt from their engagement with philosophy.

this answer assumes that people engaged in an academic discipline outside an academy, or only as a student, are in some sense not fully engaged in it.

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