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The history of the concept of eclecticism

The history of the concept of eclecticism



The history of the concept of eclecticism
1
The history of the concept of eclecticism
Pierluigi Donini
Antiquity knew both the concept of eclectic philosophy and
the term itself, but both were much less widespread than their popularity in
modern times would lead one to think. The idea that a philosophy could show the
combined influence of other thinkers was by no means unusual in the classical
world: we need only be reminded of the way Aristotle explains Plato’s thought
in the first book of Metaphysics as a creative blend of the philosophies of
Parmenides, Heraclitus, Socrates, and the Pythagoreans (A6.987a29ff.). Likewise,
the idea that a particular doctrine or philosophical statement could be the
result of the combination of 10510t191k two or more others was fairly common.[1] But the
ancients never
In writing this paper I have been greatly helped by the
discussion that followed my first draft, read at the FIEC Congress in Dublin; I would like to
thank all those who took part in that debate. I am particularly grateful to the
late Professor Paul Moraux, who allowed me to see important parts of his second
volume on Greek Aristotelianism before publication; to Jaap Mansfeld, who
generously made available to me much valuable material on the history of
eclecticism; and to Tony Long. I alone of course am responsible for the
interpretation offered here.
[1]
― 16 ―
labeled these two kinds of mixture eclecticism . When this
term is employed, it has an entirely different meaning: it means a philosophy
whose structural character is that of deliberately planning to select some
doctrines out of many philosophies and fit them together.
There are, however, only a few known examples of the use of
the term in this sense. The most important one is in Diogenes Laertius, who
says that „an eclectic school was introduced by Potamo of Alexandria, who
made a selection from the tenets of all the existing sects” (1.21, trans.
Hicks, Loeb Classical Library), the meaning of the Greek verb
eklegein/eklegesthai being precisely „to choose, to make a
selection.” In connection with Diogenes’ statement about Potamo it is very
interesting to find that an „eclectic philosopher” from Alexandria is
mentioned in an inscription from Ephesus which has recently been published.[2]
Another instance of the term is provided by the Christian writer Clement of
Alexandria: he calls his own ideal of the philosophical method eklektikon
(Strom . 1.37.6). Finally, it should be remarked that Galen twice speaks of a
medical school which is called eklektike by some people.[3] Unfortunately, we
are not in a position to say whether the name was first given to this medical
school and then transferred to Potamo’s philosophy or whether the reverse
happened.
[2][3]
― 17 ―
If eclecticism has by this date become a relatively
technical notion, its origins, in the sense used by Clement-constituting a
corpus of theories by selecting from many doctrines-have roots at least as far
back as Xenophon. He makes Socrates speak of readings from the works of ancient
wise men, „which we select [eklegometha ] on the basis of whatever we
perceive good” in them; and there are other examples of this use of the
term.[4] But until the Roman period neither this idea nor the term eklegein may
yet have established a regular place in philosophy. A fragment of Epicurus’s
work OnNature is particularly interesting, because it seems to contain a
distinction between the constructive use of someone else’s doctrines and the
„confused mixture” of ideas deriving from different sources;[5] but
neither here nor in an apparently similar passage of Theophrastus is the verb
eklegein or any of its derivatives employed.[6] Nor, it seems, is such a
distinction familiar to other ancient writers.
[4][5][6]
― 18 ―
To sum up, we may say that the very few ancient thinkers who
described their own philosophy as „eclecticism” gave a dearly
positive meaning to this term, that these authors did not represent schools of
major importance, and, finally, that there are traces of a distinction between
a good and a bad mixture of doctrines emanating from divergent origins.
When compared with the very limited evidence from antiquity,
the many references in modem histories of philosophy to eclecticism or
eclectics as typical features of later Greek thought may thus seem excessive.
Even more remarkable is the fact that the use of these terms in modem times has
not reflected the same point of view, but has undergone many changes from the
Renaissance to the present. Nowadays everyone agrees that eclecticism, viewed
as a general feature of a stage of ancient thought, was a very bad thing; that
philosophy from the end of the second century B.C. , or from the first century
B.C. to Plotinus, was bad, and that it was bad above all because it was
eclectic, is a widespread conviction even among Classical scholars. But few
among them seem to be aware that there was a long period in philosophical
historiography and in European thought in which eclecticism was nothing less
than the ideal toward which philosophy aimed and which was accepted as a model
by intellectual historians. In the chief monument of this historiography in the
eighteenth century, Jakob Brucker’s Historia critica philosophiae , one
discovers that „the eclectic method of philosophizing, long approved by
intelligent men and practiced by philosophers of the greatest ability,”
produced its greatest works in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe,
thanks to the great philosophers who founded modem thought by fighting against
sectarian ideas and the principle of authority[7] ; so Brucker presents
philosophers
[7]
― 19 ―
such as Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Campanella, Hobbes,
Descartes, Leibniz, and Christian Thomasius as „men who renewed the
universal eclectic philosophy.”[8] The article Eclectisme written by
Diderot for the Encyclop ©die contained a flattering definition of an eclectic
which, like most of the article, is in fact derived from, or almost translated
from, Brucker.[9]
The eclectic is a philosopher who, trampling underfoot
prejudice, tradition, antiquity, general agreement, authority-in a word,
everything that controls the minds of the common herd-dares to think for
himself, returns to the clearest general principles, examines them, discusses
them, admits nothing that is not based on the testimony of his experience and
his reason; and from all the philosophies he has analyzed without respect and
bias he makes for himself a particular and domestic one which belongs to
him…. There is no leader of a sect who has not been more or less eclectic….
The Eclectics are among the philosophers who are the kings on the face of the
earth, the only ones who have remained in the state of nature, where everything
belonged to everyone.
(trans. A.A. Long)
In these authors, so great is the praise of eclecticism as a
philosophical attitude opposed to dogmatism, to sectarian ideas, and
[8][9]
― 20 ―
to the principle of authority that they state that anyone
who becomes a faithful disciple of an eclectic philosophy loses by this very
fact the right of being considered eclectic.
Brucker and Diderot were not even innovators; their praise
of philosophical eclecticism was the result of long studies and positive
evaluation of the concept of eclecticism which began to develop in Europe from the late Renaissance. Some works on the
history of philosophical historiography which have appeared recently in France
and Italy[10] enable us to follow fairly dearly the development and the growing
popularity of this concept between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century;
this popularity is not necessarily linked with that of the philosophy of the
Enlightenment, as is seen in the works of Italian historians of the first part
of the eighteenth century. There we even find eclecticism being praised for
apologetic purposes, and specifically to further Catholic apologetics.[11] Even
the Catholic opponents of the Encyclop ©die thought that a positive and
Christian interpretation of eclecticism was possible.[12] It seems therefore
reasonable to conjecture that in all these cases the greatest influence was the
tradition of Christian eclecticism as it had been specified by Clement of
Alexandria.[13] In any case, in Brucker himself religious problems have
decisive importance; the quarrel against dogmatism is aimed only against
Catholicism and is strongly influenced by Protestant theology.
[10][11][12][13]
― 21 ―
But for historians of ancient thought it may be particularly
interesting to note that in Brucker and Diderot the high estimate of eclectic
philosophy was not at all connected with a similar evaluation of ancient
eclecticism. This eclecticism, they said, had been professed by Alexandrian
Platonists, starting with Ammonius Saccas and Plotinus, i.e., by those whom we
now call Neo-platonists. (The link between Ammonius and Potamo, who was the
only person ancient tradition undeniably called an eclectic, was, besides, very
difficult to prove.)[14] But the Platonic eclectics of Alexandria had not really been eclectics, for
it could not be denied that they had formed a real sect. Moreover, instead of
choosing the best doctrines and seeking the truth, they had, rather, aimed to
reconcile widely different opinions and had succeeded only in producing a
„heap” (massa ), a „largely shapeless mass” (chaos magnam
partem informe ).[15] They therefore deserved to be called syncretistae ,
syncretists, far more than eclectics. Ancient philosophy, then, had produced
the name rather than the practice of eclecticism. And antiquity had known only
the „plague” of syncretism,[16] that „diseased reconciliation of
doctrines and opinions which are utterly discrepant” (malesana dog-matum
et sententiarum toto caelo inter se dissidentium conciliatio ) which later on
afflicted modern philosophy as well in various ways. Even in determining the
only feature of the Alexandrians that could still be considered really eclectic
(namely, the unwillingness to follow blindly the authority of a master),
Brucker was able to repeat his very unfavorable judgment of their philoso-
[14][15][16]
― 22 ―
phy.[17] Diderot was perhaps only slightly less harsh in his
general remarks on syncretism.[18] But the total judgment which historians in
the period of the Enlightenment passed on eclectic philosophy in antiquity
remained very unfavorable; and it determined the outlook of later historians.
However, in the last decades of the eighteenth century;
while the popularity of the Historia critica in Europe continued, the change of
philosophical outlook in Germany
prepared the way for a radical change in the evaluation of eclecticism. After
Kant, eclecticism could no longer be a philosophical or historiographical
ideal.[19] At the end of the century the negative opinion on ancient eclectic
philosophy, which had already been sanctioned by the Age of Enlightenment, was
thus reconciled with the recent depreciation of the very concept of
eclecticism: a discredited name could now without difficulty be given to a bad
philosophy. This situation lasted throughout the nineteenth century, almost
without exceptions.[20] In particular, it is presupposed by E.
Zeller’s Philosophie der Griechen , the work that was to influence
most deeply the whole trend of subsequent studies of ancient thought.[21]
In order to discuss Zeller’s views with some accuracy we
ought
[17][18][19][20][21]
― 23 ―
also to consider other developments which had taken place in
the meantime in philosophical historiography. One was the popularity of the
term Neoplatonism and the distinction between the Neoplatonic school and
eclecticism. (Thus in Zeller Neoplatonism was no longer eclecticism, although
somehow eclecticism had prepared the way for it.) Another development was that,
while being impoverished by separation from the independent philosophical
tradition of Neoplatonism, eclecticism in a looser sense expanded and came to
stand for a general feature of philosophical thought from the end of the
second, or from the first, century B.C. up to Plotinus. It is obviously
impossible to explain in detail all this change as well, but anyone who reads Zeller’s
account of the general features of eclecticism can have no doubts about his
strongly unfavorable judgment. We find a great number of expressions such as
„the dying out of a scientific outlook,” „scientific
decline,” „a merely exterior connection between different
positions,” and „uncritical philosophizing.” It is tempting to
say that Zeller calls eclecticism what Brucker called syncretism, yet the
meaning of the judgment remains exactly the same. It is striking, however, that
Zeller does not even attempt to define philosophical eclecticism exactly; he
seems to assume that its existence, as well as the scope of the concept, is
obvious. Yet when Zeller uses the term eclecticism as a huge generalization,
making no attempt to establish a precise link with the only ancient
philosophical tradition for which the name is attested, he may well seem guilty
of carelessness. But the worst is to come.
Instead of providing a definition of eclecticism, Zeller
preferred to give two principal explanations of the origin of the phenomenon,
in a section with the significant title „Origin and Character of
Eclecticism” („Entstehungsgr ¼nde und Charakter des
Eklekticismus”). One reason was intrinsic to the development of Greek
philosophy; the other he derived from the general historical situation.
According to Zeller, the intrinsic reason was the protracted debate among the
philosophical schools. It is extremely important to note here that the only
ones concerned are
― 24 ―
the three great Hellenistic schools, Stoicism, Epicureanism,
and Academic Skepticism. Though Zeller never stated this presupposition fully
or even explicitly,[22] the subsequent parts of his discussion make it quite
obvious. The „very nature of things” (these or similar words occur
frequently in the chapter in question, with eclecticism appearing in the end as
the logical result of a natural process) entails this consequence: as the
debate dies out between the founders and upholders of different systems, each
of whom was eager to stress his own point of view and to underline divergences
from other schools, and as quarrels abate, those points that the different
doctrines have in common emerge; all the more so, since these doctrines had
originated from a common ground. (This is an unmistakable hint of the origin of
eclecticism from the three great Hellenistic philosophies.) Once this happens,
the typical refusal of the Skeptics („neither this nor that”) changes
into the eclectic reconciliation of different positions: „both this and
that.”
Several points in this reconstruction cause misgivings. In
the first place Zeller stresses the role of Academic Skepticism as really
paving the way for eclecticism and believes that the idea of „immediate
knowledge,” which is the fundamental principle of eclecticism, goes back
to skeptical attitudes. He therefore believes that it was „not at all
accidental” that it was precisely „the successors of Carneades”
who were the chief source from which eclectic attitudes developed.[23] It is
clear, however, that he consid-
[22][23]
― 25 ―
ers some Stoics who go as far back as the second century
B.C. , such as Boethus and Panaetius, to be eclectics, and one therefore
wonders how these men, who can hardly be included among Carneades’ successors,
could have become eclectics. But Zeller’s theory has an even more objectionable
limitation in that it attempts to trace the origins of eclecticism solely to
the interaction among the three major Hellenistic philosophies. This theory
would have point only if so-called eclecticism had been a contact between and a
mixture of the doctrines of the Stoic, Epicurean, and Academic schools. But it
is well known that events turned out quite differently. Epicureanism remained
almost completely free from external influences, and it did not influence in an
eclectic manner any important thinker (with the exception of Seneca, who was a
completely peculiar and isolated instance). Moreover-and this is the most
important point-we do not know of a single instance of a mixture only of Stoic,
Epicurean, and Academic positions. From the time of Zeller himself, in fact,
eclecticism is a completely different phenomenon from the one postulated in
this theory. It is, rather, the contact and mutual interaction between the
Hellenistic philosophies, particularly Stoicism, and three other philosophies
which went back to a previous age and indeed had undergone a considerable
decline in the Hellenistic period: dogmatic Platonism, Aristotelianism, and
Pythagoreanism. Zeller’s theory has no explanation to offer for this renewal of
philosophies whose origin was earlier than the Hellenistic age, for the contact
between them and their reaction to Stoicism-in short, for everything that
actually happened between Panaetius and Alexander of Aphrodisias.
Equally questionable is the second reason adduced by Zeller,
the external cause. In his view this was the influence of the Roman frame of
mind, whose typical feature was a highly practical
― 26 ―
and moral outlook. (This view of the Roman frame of mind
seems to be one of the most successful fables convenues in Classical studies.)
If such influence had really existed and had had a really decisive effect on
philosophy, eclecticism would necessarily have turned out to be a sort of
moralizing Stoic-Skeptical-Epicurean lingua franca . In fact it is well known
that precisely in the Roman period, philosophies with metaphysical interests or
foundations, such as Platonism, Aristotelianism, and Pythagoreanism, emerged
again and helped to create a new vision of the world in which metaphysics had an
ever-growing role. It is also well known that precisely in that period the
pre-Hellenistic ideal of pure speculation (theoria ) reappeared and became
widespread. (It is remarkable that one of the first vigorous confirmations of
this ideal is found in the Roman, Seneca.) Thus Zeller’s theory on the origin
and nature of eclecticism is a typical example of a priori argument; it
explains wonderfully what never happened, while leaving what actually happened
totally unexplained. The time has come to think again about the real problem:
the sudden reappearance, almost at the same time, of dogmatic Platonism and
Aristotelianism, as well as Pythagoreanism, and the interaction of these three
philosophies with Hellenistic philosophy, especially Stoicism.
It has not been pleasant to criticize a historian to whom
every student of ancient thought is still enormously indebted. Nevertheless,
this was necessary. Zeller was chiefly responsible for disseminating a negative
and unfavorable concept of eclecticism which until a few years ago almost
completely prevailed in the study of ancient philosophy.[24] No one who used
this concept
[24]
― 27 ―
after Zeller reexamined its theoretical foundations, and no
one noticed that it was unable to keep dose to the actual evidence. This,
however, does not mean that things have not changed at all from Zeller’s time
to the present day. Some developments in subsequent studies in the long run
weakened the foundations of Zeller’s theory.
The point that seems to have caused most dissatisfaction
among scholars was the excessively generic nature of the concept of
eclecticism, its application without distinction to several centuries of the
history of thought. It soon became dear that undifferentiated eclecticism
ignored the many differences between thinkers in the period from Panaetius to
Plotinus. Further distinctions were therefore devised to do justice to these.
There is not much to say on the attempt made by some
scholars to put forward again the old distinction between eclecticism and syncretism.
According to the definition given by the most explicit upholder of this
distinction,[25] syncretism is only „the superficial and unauthentic
agreement of the heterogeneous and disparate elements whose irreducible
differences are blurred”; eclecticism, according to him, shows a greater
degree of conceptual accuracy, since it is „the reunion by juxtaposition
of reconcilable philosophical theses. The eclectic chooses, makes a
selection,” even though he still lacks a synthetic and organizing point of
view that can create a unity which is more than a mere juxtaposition. As one
can see, however, this is not exactly Brucker’s or Diderot’s distinction. Not
even the term eclecticism has a fully positive meaning here: it betokens a
degree of confusion and superficiality that is only slightly lower than that of
syncretism. Nor does the distinction reflect the substance of the text of
Epicurus mentioned above (p. 17). But the absence of ancient supporting
evidence is not its greatest fault. Basically it errs in being completely
divorced from the intentions of the ancient authors
[25]
― 28 ―
and in relying completely on the intuitions of modem
interpreters, who in each instance have to decide whether a given philosopher
should be included among eclectics or be confined to the shameful circle of
syncretists. Finally; the distinction has the weakness of not being generally
accepted by historians of philosophy; the word syncretism is largely used now
as a technical term in the history of religion, and, above all, ancient
religions;[26] when it is still used in the history of philosophy it seems on
the whole not to differ from eclecticism .[27]
The distinction between eclectic and orthodox philosophers,
which Karl Praechter invented,[28] was far more widespread. According to this
point of view those philosophers could be considered orthodox who strove to
remain loyal to an original core of doctrines held to be essential to, and
typical of, the school from which they drew their name, and who in many cases
were hostile to the intrusion of alien doctrines. Those who had no such concern
and were open to extraneous influences were eclectic. A considerable advantage
of this distinction was its applicability to all philosophical schools: thus
among Platonists, Atticus and Taurus were typically orthodox, whereas
„Albinus” and Apuleius were definitely eclectic; among Stoics,
Epictetus was orthodox, while Seneca was absolutely eclectic and Marcus
Aurelius was eclectic to a lesser extent; among Aristotelians, Alexander was
orthodox and contrasted with the eclectic Aristocles.
Clarity and the ease with which it could be applied are
doubtless qualities in favor of Praechter’s classification. Yet in this case
[26][27][28]
― 29 ―
too the defects in the end turn out to be greater than the
virtues. The absence of any recognition of just this distinction from Classical
philosophy is not particularly serious; one could say that when Atticus rejects
Aristotelian doctrines he in fact contrasts his own orthodox Platonism with his
opponents’ eclectic interpretation. But such a suggestion could not be the
basis for a reasonable classification of all Platonists (or of all the
philosophers of the other schools) under the two headings of eclectic and
orthodox. What good reasons are there for accepting Atticus as the standard of
Platonic orthodoxy? By treating him as such (as Praechter did), we would simply
adopt in an uncritical manner his own point of view, without taking into account
the fact that Atticus himself was considered by later Platonists to have been a
philosopher who had abandoned the school’s tradition.[29] We would also be
guilty of serious injustice to the intentions of the other side. Most so-called
eclectics were honestly persuaded that they were loyal to the school’s
tradition;[30] on the other hand, even so-called orthodox philosophers were
often exposed to external influences whose importance was underestimated by
Praechter and his followers.
For these reasons Praechter’s distinction appears today less
and less convincing, and several suggestions for correcting the worst faults of
the previous approaches are now available.[31] The
[29][30][31]
― 30 ―
most recent is also the one that has been most carefully
thought out. In his introduction to the second volume of his monumental work on
Greek Aristotelianism, Paul Moraux proposes a distinction between de facto
orthodoxy and intentional orthodoxy: the latter would then also apply to nearly
all the philosophers who are traditionally considered eclectic, such as
„Albinus,” insofar as they at least appear sincerely convinced that
they are presenting the genuine version of their school’s doctrine, even when
they insert elements of different origins. Moraux, however, makes it important
to show that external elements are accepted only when they are considered
useful in clarifying, completing, or defending the doctrine of the school.
Examples of this are the acceptance by Aristotle of Mytilene of Stoic doctrines
and of Aristotelian ones by „Albinus.” Similarly, Moraux seems to
achieve a more precise definition of the concept of eclecticism. Although he
continues to speak of „undeniable” or „effective”
eclecticism[32] with regard to authors who accept doctrines not belonging to their
own schools, he is careful to distinguish this eclecticism, which may very
easily be reconciled with full and loyal membership in a philosophical school,
from Galen’s eclecticism stated as a guiding principle: the latter consists in
a refusal to belong to any previously established system, either of philosophy
or medicine, and has nothing to do with „a more or less casual and
arbitrary combination of elements coming from different sources.”
„Galen’s choice … is seen as always having scientific foundations.
Galen’s eclecticism is the immediate result of his strict scientific
ideal.” Other scholars in recent times have already noted Galen’s quite
special position.[33] Thus a fully positive and honorable sense of eclecticism
has reappeared in the history of philosophy.
[32][33]
― 31 ―
This review shows that the term eclecticism has been used by
modern historians (after Zeller) to indicate different philosophical attitudes
with a number of different senses. Let us try to enumerate these for the sake
of clarity.
1. There is first of all the negative meaning of the term,
originating chiefly from Zeller and denoting a combination of heterogeneous
elements that is substantially uncritical and more or less deliberate. In this
sense the term has undergone a strong decline in recent years. (In the sense
employed by Praechter, involving the antithesis between eclecticism and
orthodoxy, the term is indeed dying out.) The more penetrating the
interpretation of individual authors once contemptuously defined as eclectic
becomes, the more inadequate this sense of eclecticism appears. After the most
recent studies it seems very difficult to dismiss and condemn as eclectic
authors such as Arius Didymus, Plutarch and the Middle Platonists in general,
or even, I should like to add, Seneca.[34]
2. The term may be used as a statement of fact, without any
positive or negative implications: it simply states that the doctrine of a
philosophical school is combined in an author’s thought with elements of a
different origin.
3. Eclecticism is also defined as the more or less arbitrary
attitude of authors who accept into the doctrine of their own school extraneous
elements because they are honestly convinced that these are compatible with,
and indeed helpful in explaining or defending, their own doctrine.
4. The eclectic attitude of Potamo and Clement, which is
completely deliberate and stated at the outset, can obviously continue to be
described as eclecticism.
5. More recent discussions indicate, however, that this
attitude must be distinguished from another one, which chooses among doctrines
with the same deliberate program but whose spirit is strongly anti-dogmatic and
anti-sectarian. The typical example is Galen.
[34]
― 32 ―
6. Finally, although it has not yet been mentioned, there is
a sixth attitude, which must be distinguished as absolutely different from all
previous ones and which is often called eclectic. It is the posture of
Antiochus of Ascalon, who tried to prove the basic agreement between Platonism,
Aristotelianism, and Stoicism and tended to make these three schools coincide
and form a single common doctrine. Now even if the results obtained by
Antiochus may seem similar to those of eclecticism of types (1) and (3), his
point of departure is completely idiosyncratic. Was there anyone who really
adopted it after him? Platonists open to Aristotelian influence may in a
certain sense be considered his heirs. But who among them was equally open to
Stoicism as well? To conclude, it seems that Antiochus’s position is indeed
very personal, and it is better to consider it sui generis.
So we have available today no fewer than six different
interpretations of the concept of eclecticism: this may cause some dizziness.
Other interpretations are perhaps possible and may have escaped me; others will
probably be suggested by this book. If, however, I may be allowed to state what
lesson I think I have learned from the account just given, my impression is
that it is now wise to use great caution in applying such an ambiguous term.
The history of the discussion seems to produce an exhortation to employ the
term sparingly: in fact, as was said above, sense (1) is already disappearing,
and according to some scholars, sense (6), namely Antiochus, has in fact
nothing to do with eclecticism.[35] A further widening of senses (4) and (5)
seems difficult in the light of the warning, often proclaimed in recent
years,[36] that eclecticism as a deliberate plan was a rare and un-
[35][36]
― 33 ―
usual position in antiquity and essentially foreign to the
traditions and philosophical customs of the Hellenistic and Roman ages, where
the desire to look back to a well-defined school or tradition is always
evident. In fact Potamo and Clement had no followers in pagan philosophy. As
for Galen’s anti-dogmatic eclecticism, it is difficult to find even one ancient
philosopher who reproduces his features exactly. Perhaps Seneca alone might be
compared with him on account of his critical attention to themes of
contemporary Platonism and Epicureanism and his frequent claims of intellectual
freedom and independence; but in fact he remains different. In my judgment
there is either no eclecticism in Seneca or there is a hint of a further
widening of the meaning of the term.[37]
It seems therefore that only senses (2) and (3) may be effectively
and widely applied. However, the former of these is also open to objections.
While it is true that it seems rather harmless and comfortable, perhaps it is
innocent only because it has not much capacity to explain things: it registers
the facts but does not make their qualities and causes clear. When we
acknowledge that a doctrine is composite, we can hardly avoid asking ourselves
how and why it was put together. We shall then inevitably be compelled to
answer the question by changing our innocent eclecticism into another one, for
the most part belonging to sense (1) or (3).

The History Of The Concept Of Eclecticism

The History Of The Concept Of Eclecticism

  • Date: Kwiecień 18, 2013
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