Aristotle uses philosophia (and philosophos, philosophein, philosophôs, sumphilosophein, philosophêteon) in at least ten senses across his oeuvre, as this first study of every instance in his writings reveals. Irrespective of the specific approaches of its practitioners, philosophia may be, for example, an exercise of cleverness; or leisurely study; or the desire to know; or the pursuit of fundamental explanation; or a historically extended discipline. This variety allows us to go some way in reconstructing the complex attitude Aristotle had toward a culturally specific practice in which he located himself and soon helped develop into a specialized discipline. Another benefit is that it allows us to clarify the argumentative method in his Protrepticus, which depends on several senses of philosophia. It also puts up obstacles to determining whether, for example, Aristotle believes philosophia is an epistêmê.
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