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In an earlier article on the philosophical history of thinking and design, we briefly talked about the influence the Greek philosophers have had on the western philosophy. Having talked about the history, let’s now delve a little deeper into the word philosophy. Philosophy is a mashup of two Greek words philo and sophia. Philo means love, and sophia means wisdom. In other words, philosophy means “love for wisdom”. The word is believed to have been coined by Pythagoras, much after the times of the three Greek philosophers.
Sophia or wisdom is the integration of thinking and action, reflection and production. The original meaning is as referred to “skill of the craftsman, the carpenter (Iliad XV.412), the seafarer (Hesiod, Works 651), the sculptor (Aristotle, Nicc. Eth. Vi. 1141a.).
The meaning of sophia changed in the times of the three Greek philosophers. During Plato’s time, he believed in the power of ideas and considered those who came up with ideas as wise. In his time, those who thought about things were elevated in the society while those who made things were in the bottom of the social hierarchy. This changed in the time of his student Aristotle, in whose period wisdom was looked at in the context of first principles and causes.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; Imagination encircles the world. – Albert Einstein
Wisdom, as it is considered in the Western philosophy is data, summed into information which is later translated to knowledge. In other words, only the intellectual or reflective components of sophia is present in the Western thinking. Knowledge is limited, and true wisdom is beyond knowledge. We call it the maker’s wisdom or design wisdom.
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