Fichte's general views on philosophy seem to have changed considerably as he advanced in years, and his influence has been impaired by certain inconsistencies and an appearance of eclecticism, which is strengthened by his predominantly historical treatment of problems, his desire to include divergent systems within his own, and his conciliatory tone.
The strain of the next three years' continuous work undermined his health and his eyesight, and he was compelled to retire from his professorship. During these years he had published works on Plato and Socrates and a history of philosophy (1875); but after his retirement he further developed his philosophical position, a speculative eclecticism through which he endeavoured to reconcile metaphysical idealism with the naturalistic and mechanical standpoint of science.
It is, however, certain that these fragments are mainly forgeries, attributable to the eclecticism of the 1st or 2nd century A.D., of which the chief characteristic was a desire to father later doctrines on the old masters.
ECLECTICISM (from Gr.
EKX yw, I select), a term used specially in philosophy and theology for a composite system of thought made up of views borrowed from various other systems. Where the characteristic doctrines of a philosophy are not thus merely adopted, but are the modified products of a blending of the systems from which it takes its rise, the philosophy is not properly eclectic. Eclecticism always tends to spring up after a period of vigorous constructive speculation, especially in the later stages of a controversy between thinkers of pre-eminent ability.
Since these combinations have often been as illogical as facile, "eclecticism" has generally acquired a somewhat contemptuous significance.
At the same time, the essence of eclecticism is the refusal to follow blindly one set of formulae and conventions, coupled with a determination to recognize and select from all sources those elements which are good or true in the abstract, or in practical affairs most useful ad hoc. Theoretically, therefore, eclecticism is a perfectly sound method, and the contemptuous significance which the word has acquired is due partly to the fact that many eclectics have been intellectual trimmers, sceptics or dilettanti, and partly to mere partisanship. On the other hand, eclecticism in the sphere of abstract thought is open to this main objection that, in so far as every philosophic system is, at least in theory, an integral whole, the combination of principles from hostile theories must result in an incoherent patchwork.
In the 2nd century B.C. a remarkable tendency toward eclecticism began to manifest itself.
This assumes that every philosophical truth is already contained somewhere in the existing systems. If, however, as it would surely be rash to deny, there still remains philosophical truth undiscovered, but discoverable by human intelligence, it is evident that eclecticism is not the only philosophy.
Eclecticism gained great popularity, and, partly owing to Cousin's position as minister of public instruction, became the authorized system in the chief seats of learning in France, where it has given a most remarkable impulse to the study of the history of philosophy.
Abelard's discussion of the problem (which it is right to say is on the whole incidental rather than systematic) is thus marked by an eclecticism which was perhaps the source at once of its strength and its weakness.
He is characterized as "one of the earliest representatives of a half-critical, half-credulous eclecticism" (Gomperz).
Trans., Eclecticism, 56-70); C. Muller, Fragmenta historicorum graecorum, iii.
There is a want of depth in Christian experience, in the power of realizing relative spiritual values in the light of the master principle involved in the distinctively Christian consciousness, such as could raise Clement above a verbal eclecticism, rather than comprehensiveness, in the use of Apostolic language.
To this work, and that of Owen Jones, can be traced the origin of the eclecticism which has laid all past styles of art under contribution.
Of Eclecticism in Gk.
Lastly, Wundt's view is an interesting piece of eclecticism, for he supposes that induction begins in the form of Aristotle's inductive syllogism, S-P, S-M, M-P, and becomes an inductive method in the form of Jevons's inverse deduction, or hypothetical deduction, or analysis, M-P, S-M, S-P. In detail, he supposes that, while an " inference by comparison," which he erroneously calls an affirmative syllogism in the second figure, is preliminary to induction, a second " inference by connexion," which he erroneously calls a syllogism in the third figure with an indeterminate conclusion, is the inductive syllogism itself.
Cicero in particular is important as showing the effect or philosophical eclecticism upon Roman cultivation, and as the often author and always popularizer of the Latin terminology of philosophy.
The cause of eclecticism is the unsatisfying character of the creeds of such science, in conjunction with the familiar law that, in triangular or plusquamtriangular controversies a common hatred will produce an alliance 4 Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrhon.
Hierocles, writing in the 5th century A.D., states that his fundamental doctrine was an eclecticism, derived from a critical study of Plato and Aristotle.
A wave of eclecticism passed over all the Greek schools in the 1st century B.C. Platonism and scepticism had left undoubted traces upon the doctrine of such a reformer as Panaetius.