These days, people use the word “philosophy” to describe some opinion they might have, or the approach they take to a certain topic.

Like, you might have a “philosophy” when it comes to golf. Though…I personally do not. But we’re going to use this word more narrowly, to describe a way of approaching the world that traces its roots back to ancient Greece, 500 years before the Common Era. This was a time of great intellectual movement around the world. Buddhism and Jainism were developing in Asia, at the same time philosophical thought was emerging in Greece. There, scholars were tangled up in a distinction they were just beginning to make — between philos and mythos – or what we’d now roughly call science and storytelling. At that time, there were bards, like Homer, who were trying to understand and explain the world through stories, while the earlies philosophers were using methods that were more analytical and scientific — although they didn’t really have the concept of “science” back then.

So philosophia – literally “the love of wisdom” – was a new way of trying to make sense of the world. When the earliest philosophers used the word “philosophy,” they basically meant, “the academic study of anything.”
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