The eclecticism was a name that was given to a group of philosophers old who from the belief philosophical that already existed, tried to select the doctrines more reasonable for them, and from doctrines they built a new system . Eclecticism sought by selection the highest degree of probability possible, in desperation to achieve the absolutely certain .


What is eclecticism?

Eclecticism is everything that is related to the choice and selection of the necessary elements to create something new. It was a philosophical current that united philosophical , stoic and metaphysical elements .

  • What is eclecticism?
  • History
  • features
  • Religious eclecticism
  • Eclecticism in psychology
  • Eclecticism in art
  • Representatives
  • Examples

What is eclecticism?

Eclecticism consists of an approach to concepts that does not adhere rigidly to a single paradigm or a single set of assumptions , but is based on multiple theories , styles, or ideas that come together to achieve a complementarity of ideas on a given topic, or to apply different theories in particular cases.


In the area of philosophy and theology , eclecticism is the practice of selecting and compiling doctrines that come from different systems of thought , without having to adopt the entire system of each doctrine. In other words, it is a way of acting , of thinking , of living through a permanent search to unite ideas and to be transformed into something new and unique.


The word eclectic was first used in the 1st century BC to refer to a group of ancient philosophers , including the Stoic Panaetius, Posidonius, and the new scholars Carneades and Philo of Larissa, who selected from existing philosophical beliefs those doctrines that they seemed more reasonable to them. During the nineteenth century, the term “eclectic” came to apply particularly to a number of French philosophers who differed considerably from one another.

His position was typified by Víctor Cousin who identified four great systems that, according to him, expressed and summarized the complete development of human speculation: sensism , idealism , skepticism and mysticism ; and came to the conclusion that each contained a part of the truth, but none possessed the complete truth exclusively.

In the 2nd century BC. C., began to manifest a notable trend towards eclecticism. Philosophers began to adopt, of all systems, the doctrines that pleased them best. Eclecticism sought to approach the absolute truth by selecting the doctrines that had the highest degree of probability possible.


The main characteristics of eclecticism were the following:

  • The behavior is not very important as it only reveals the organization and development of the intellect.
  • The environment has a disturbing or unbalanced role.
  • Look for a way to avoid ascription to particular theories.
  • It is considered as a philosophy of common sense .
  • Defend the truth and seek conciliation in the face of possible problems.
  • He suffers from a loss of identity and always has a concept opposed to the truth.
  • It was used as an opening method for the teaching and dissemination of new theories related to science and philosophy .

Religious eclecticism

On the subject of religion , religious eclecticism is commonly given as eclectic paganism is a form of paganism where practitioners will mix paganism with aspects of other religious paths or philosophies . Eclectic Paganism has been compared to Reconstruction Paganism , as Reconstruction Pagans attempt to rebuild the religious traditions of specific groups or time periods, while Eclectic Pagans will borrow from different religious paths , philosophies, and time periods .

Eclecticism in psychology

In the 20th century, models were emerging outside the same theoretical orientation , but on the contrary, they combined the contributions of different theories . Eclecticism in the area of psychology is responsible for promoting explanatory frameworks that seek a way to overcome the limitations of traditional perspectives. There are several eclectic models in psychology which are classified according to the way in which the integration of paradigms is carried out such as theoretical integration , technical eclecticism , the approach of thecommon factors , among others.

Eclecticism in art

  • Music : Eclecticism has been seen as a new stream of popular music and is very noticeable among experimental music artists such as Alex Ross-Iver, Tom Waits, and Les Claypool. The term is used to describe the music of composers who combine several styles or those who use a variation of tones of a popular song.
  • Architecture : the term is used to describe the combination in a single work of elements of different historical styles, mainly in architecture. It was once applied to painters from the Carracci family, who incorporated elements of the Renaissance and classical traditions. The term is also sometimes applied to the general stylistic variety of 19th century architecture after Neoclassicism .
  • Painting : it manifested itself mainly in baroque art and was based on a mixture of beliefs , traditions , and cultures , in which a mixture of color , drawing , contrast , light and shadow was used .


Among its most important representatives we can mention the following:

  • Europe : Bacon, Boyle, Wilkins, Byle, Descartes, and Newton.
  • Latin America : Juan Benito Díaz de Gamarra, Francisco Javier Clavijero, José Agustín Caballero, Félix Varela, Francisco Javier de Santa Cruz y Espejo, Cayetano Rodríguez.


Some examples of eclecticism are as follows:

  • The learning.
  • The human capacities learned.
  • Mental abilities.

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