eclecticism

/i klek"teuh siz'euhm/, n.
1. the use or advocacy of an eclectic method.
2. a tendency in architecture and the decorative arts to mix various historical styles with modern elements with the aim of combining the virtues of many styles or increasing allusive content.
[1825-35; ECLECTIC + -ISM]

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▪ philosophy and theology
      (from Greek eklektikos, “selective”), in philosophy and theology, the practice of selecting doctrines from different systems of thought without adopting the whole parent system for each doctrine. It is distinct from syncretism—the attempt to reconcile or combine systems—inasmuch as it leaves the contradictions between them unresolved. In the sphere of abstract thought, eclecticism is open to the objection that insofar as each system is supposed to be a whole of which its various doctrines are integral parts, the arbitrary juxtaposition of doctrines from different systems risks a fundamental incoherence. In practical affairs, however, the eclectic spirit has much to commend it.

      A philosopher, no less than a statesman, may be eclectic not on principle but because he perceives the intrinsic merit of doctrines that happen to have been advanced by opposite parties. This tendency is naturally most apt to manifest itself when established systems are losing their novelty or revealing their defects as changes of historical circumstance or scientific knowledge occur. From the beginning of the 2nd century BC, for instance, a number of philosophers professing to be attached to long-established schools—the Greek Academy, the peripatetics, or the stoics—were ready to adopt views from other schools; and Roman philosophers, in particular, to whom all Greek philosophies were enlightening, often avoided rigid partisan commitments, which even the Greeks themselves were abandoning. (Cicero was the eclectic par excellence.) It is clearly pointless to group the numerous ancient eclectics together as if they formed an eclectic school. In 19th-century France, however, Victor Cousin, a proponent of Scottish metaphysics, adopted the name éclectisme as a designation for his own philosophical system.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eclecticism — • A philosophical term meaning either a tendency of mind in a thinker to conciliate the different views or positions taken in regard to problems, or a system in philosophy which seeks the solution of its fundamental problems by selecting and… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Eclecticism — is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular… …   Wikipedia

  • Eclecticism — Ec*lec ti*cism, n. [Cf. F. [ e]clecticisme. Cf. {Electicism}.] Theory or practice of an eclectic. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • eclecticism — 1798, from ECLECTIC (Cf. eclectic) + ISM (Cf. ism) …   Etymology dictionary

  • eclecticism — [ek lek′tə siz΄əm] n. 1. an eclectic method or system of thought 2. the using or upholding of such a method or system …   English World dictionary

  • eclecticism — [[t]ɪkle̱ktɪsɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT: usu with supp Eclecticism is the principle or practice of choosing or involving objects, ideas, and beliefs from many different sources. [FORMAL] The eclecticism of the designs means it is difficult to define one …   English dictionary

  • eclecticism — eclectic ► ADJECTIVE ▪ deriving ideas or style from a broad and varied range of sources. ► NOUN ▪ an eclectic person. DERIVATIVES eclectically adverb eclecticism noun. ORIGIN Greek eklektikos, from eklegein pick out …   English terms dictionary

  • eclecticism — noun Date: 1798 the theory or practice of an eclectic method …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • eclecticism — noun a) The quality of being eclectic b) An approach to thought that draws upon multiple theories to gain complementary insights into phenomena …   Wiktionary

  • eclecticism — 1. A now defunct system of medicine that advocated use of indigenous plants to effect specific cures of certain signs and symptoms. 2. A system of medicine practiced by ancient Greek and Roman physicians who were not affiliated with a medical… …   Medical dictionary

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