An e-mail from a few years back with no name attached:
[Brian] Leiter fancies himself a gatekeeper to the realm of academic philosophy. You gotta love the professional gossip that seeps through his blog - Ned Block got an offer from Harvard but turned it down, here's the latest coming out of the Eastern APA, or noting, yesterday, that Ted Honderich consulted him during the publication of the new Oxford Companion to Philosophy. And look at the way Leiter prides himself on knowing the goings on at each school and each professor. . . what a status-obsessed elitist (I believe those are your words). No wonder this guy publishes the PGR. Others of us enjoy doing philosophy, most of the time, but here is a man who loves *being* a philosopher, all of the time.
Permit me a quibble. I would not describe a man like Brian Leiter who is a status-obsessed elitist and a careerist philosophy professor as someone who IS a philosopher. Socrates and Spinoza ARE philosophers. They and many others truly lived the philosophical life as opposed to merely doing philosophy for their enjoyment, or using it as a means to advance themselves socially and economically. For them it was a noble enterprise, a vocation in the root sense of the word (L. vocare) and not a career. Spinoza, for example, in 1673 declined an offer of a post at the prestigious University of Heidelberg in order to preserve his independence. He lived for philosophy, not from it, supporting himself by grinding optical lenses.
So I suggest a three-fold distinction. There are those who do philosophy as a sort of hobby; there are the mere professors of it who fill their belly from it and try to make a career out of it; and there are those who truly ARE philosophers. Among the latter, there are of course some professors.
While I'm on this topic, I may as well mention two other distinctions that are often confused. One is the distinction between professionals and amateurs, the other between people who make money from an activity and those who do not. These distinctions 'cut perpendicular' to one another, hence do not coincide. Spinoza was a professional philosopher even though he made no money from it. One can be a professional philosopher without being a paid professor of it, just as one can be an incompetent amateur and still be paid to teach by a college.