What makes someone an intellectual

Lexicon: intellectual / intellectuality

by Britta Pawlak

You have probably already heard that people speak of the "intellectuals" - but what does that actually mean? The term comes from the Latin verb "intellegere", which means "to understand". The term "intellect" means "perception" and "knowledge" and refers to the human mind and reason. With an "intellectual" one usually means a person who is well educated, has read many books and knows a lot - this can be a scientist, artist, philosopher and thinker or writer, for example.

Usually such a person has their own position in many areas of life and takes a critical stance on political, cultural and social issues. Because one expects from an intellectual that he does not make hasty judgments and not simply adopt opinions without question, but think a lot and come to his own conclusions. For example, the French thinker and author Albert Camus says: "An intellectual is a person whose mind watches itself."

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last update: October 18, 2011

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