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Philomath (pronunciation: FIL-oh-math) is defined as a lover of learning, from Greek philos ("beloved," "loving," as in philosophy or philanthropy) + Greek manthanein, math- ("to learn," as in polymath). It is similar to but distinguished from philosophy in that "sophia," the latter suffix, specifies "wisdom" or "knowledge."
"Philomath" is not synonymous with "polymath." A philomath is a seeker of knowledge and facts, while a polymath is a possessor of knowledge in multiple fields.
Math from "mathema" has been discussed in the context of mathematics with regard to etymology. Its original definition came from Plato who referenced Aristotle in defining 'mathema' as "disciplina, doctrina, cognitio, ars", a loose categorization that references the meaning inferred in philomath and polymath, specifically "learning" or "to learn." However, other scholars referencing Aristotle, and Aristotle himself, tended toward the modification of "mathema" into "doctrina mathematica," specifically referring to mathematics as we now know them.
The shift in meaning for "mathema" is likely a result of the rapid categorization during the time of Plato and Aristotle of their "mathemata" in terms of education: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music, which the Greeks found to create a "natural grouping" of mathematical (in our modern usage; "doctrina mathematica" for theirs) precepts.
Additional terms: philomathy (fil-O-math-ee), the practice of a love of learning or letters.
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