Latin philosophaster, from philosophus(philosopher), and -aster(expressing incomplete resemblance).

  1. noun a pretender to philosophy; a petty or charlatan philosopher.

Not to be confused with Philosopher or Philosophe

A satirical comedy in Latin by Robert Burton, written from 1606-1615. Some Philosphasters featured in the play are:

  • Polupragmaticus – a Jesuit priest who defrauded noblemen in the guise of a teacher, politician, courtier, theologian, or magician.
  • Pantomagus – an alchemist and physician who plied fake medicines. He also deceived a nobleman into believing that he could produce mountains of gold through the practice of alchemy. He would disappear when he had bankrupted a household.
  • Pedanus – a teacher of grammar who obtained by deception two livings or ecclesiastical posts and was plotting to become the Duke’s chaplain.
  • Amphimacer – a poetaster or sham poet who composed certain silly poems for his mistress and anyone else.
  • Theanus, a theologaster or sham theologian who was lazy and idle.