Pythagoras had female as well as male students. Pythagoras believed that the soul’s telos is apprehension of order, which is number (ratio, proportion, etc.). The body, on the other hand, is a deterrent to the soul’s telos. For Pythagoras, wisdom is the life-long detachment from bodily desires, and the freedom of the soul to apprehend intellectual truth. Pythagoras was the first person to use the term “philosopher”–“philo” and “sophia,” “lover of wisdom.” For him, women and men both had souls and could be lovers of wisdom. The differences between the genders were, to him, physical, and thus unimportant.
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