Define #philotimo



The Philotimo Initiative began in London in 2011, following the realization of a research gap within international bibliography around the complex concept of ‘Philotimo’- a concept central to Greek cultural identity. The idea to explore the “lost Philotimo,” as it’s often referred to by Greeks, began a fascinating journey of improbable coincidences and illumined encounters that led to the incorporation of the non-profit Think/Do startup platform Philotimo Foundation in September 2014.

We are an international group of friends, experts in our respective fields ranging from psychology, medicine, and marketing to statistical and computer science. We began by collecting data and engaging the international community of Greeks to help us redefine the word ‘Philotimo’ (the epitome of human virtue and how to attain it) in the 21st century. The more data we gathered, the more certain we became of #PHILOTIMO’s centrality in what constitutes social capital and good citizenship today across western democracies.

Philotimo is a word that can’t be reproduced by the “system”, upon which the system however relies in its darkest hour to be revived and renewed.

We believe that there couldn’t be better timing for the need to engage in an open dialogue around what constitutes good and what not for society. No better timing to introduce a word like #PHILOTIMO as the antidote to words such as Post-TruthXenophobia and the sense of living in a Surreal world!

With your support we will be able to gain momentum for Philotimo, petition for its entry in international dictionaries (most likely right under the word ‘Philosophy’), and spread its meaning globally with ain aim to create a world trend by the end of 2017.

We are currently undertaking the production of a Feature Documentary on the history, theory, science and social capital of Philotimo, featuring experts across cultures and disciplines. A partner in this endeavor is the highly acclaimed production team of “Indigo View” !

All we ask is that you use the hashtag #PHILOTIMO to share thoughts, feelings and stories about Philotimo across your social networks, and in doing so take part in a unique international movement to change the world, one philotimous gesture/hashtag at a time!

Spread the word #PHILOTIMO and join us on this journey!


Although the concept of personal honor as an individual character and community virtue appears to preexists according to the Homeric epics, initial reports on the central Philotimo concept of the benevolent citizen are formed from the 6th and 5th century BC through the works of pre-Socratic and classical philosophers.

Beyond the overall legacy of Philotimo in the shaping of Greek culture, of particular epistemological interest is the concept’s plasticity in presenting complex and contradicting characteristics as they become historically manifested in Greek history and culture from antiquity through to the 20th century. Aristotle’s abstract definition of virtue “as a mean between the extremes of deficiency and excess” reflects the fluid nature of virtues, including Philotimo, and deems as imperative for each society to redefine their place along the axis of contemporary extremes.


Since the turn of the century, in what constituted a major value orientation shift, the humanities appear to veer focus away from serving mankind by relieving it from pain and disease, towards employing systematic research and specialised interventions to support individuals’ pursuit of wellbeing, excellence and prosperity. Especially pertinent to the discipline of psychology and its applications across organizational settings, the body of research refocused on the creation and positive development of experiences and relationships, from the individual and the collective through to the civic and institutional.

The unique case of philotimo and its importance, as attributed by Greeks and Greek language learners around the world, bears particular scholarly value as one defined by complex and often oxymora traits such as gentleness, compromise, selflessness even naivety on the one hand, and stubbornness, pride, irritability, even nepotism on the other. A central linguistic asset of the word is its ability to negotiate a combination of personal virtues such as honor, integrity and pride – with more social values such as friendship, honesty in every transaction, and a sense of humanism. Aside their academic value, above observations express innate behavioural, cognitive and emotional tendencies that stand out for their unique ability to enable and empower the individual self towards optimal functionality and development. Philotimo’s affinity with concepts such as kindness, fairness, honesty, gratitude, courage and others offers a unique opportunity to explore an understudied phenomenon towards furthering an understanding of what constitutes and cultivates moral character within a civic society.


We consider Philotimo to be a cornerstone of civic life within democratic societies and the epitome of universal values, and challenges, at the heart of modern citizenship. Whether we are talking about democracy, olympism, humanism, art and creation, culture and intellect, science, medicine, communication and universality, we are essentially referring to the fruits of the struggle for individual and collective excellence that lies at the heart of universal humanism. We therefore consider the scientific research, applied practice and education revolving Philotimo a civic duty for all modern citizens.


Help us put #PHILOTIMO in international dictionaries!

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