Eclecticism and Eclectic Philosophy in the 17th and 18th Centuries

We have the pleasure to invite you to the international conference:

Eclecticism and Eclectic Philosophy in the 17th and 18th Centuries

4-5 November 2019

Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (1 Dimitrie Brandza str)

New Europe College (21 Plantelor str)      vc

Organisers: Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest) and Sophie Roux (ENS, PSL University)


The purpose of this conference is to examine the meaning and role of eclectic philosophy and eclecticism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, up to Cousin’s treatment of the eclectic method. Although eclectic philosophy was initially associated with autonomous judgment and freedom of thinking, the term ‘eclecticism’ came to be used in a pejorative way at least from Kant onward. However, central eclectic elements remained highly relevant up to the end of the eighteenth century. In order to shed new light on this approach, the conference adopts three complementary perspectives. First, we aim to analyze the way in which both modern historians of philosophy, including J. Brucker, J. G. Walch and D. Diderot, and present-day scholars conceived of ‘eclecticism’ and ‘eclectic philosophy’ as historiographical categories. Second, we wish to investigate how authors such as J. Ch. Sturm, Ch. Thomasius and the philosophers of the Berlin Academy, to name but a few, explicitly endorsed ‘eclecticism’ and ‘eclectic philosophy’ to characterize their own methodology, and to inquire about the origins of this methodology and its relationship to other related approaches. Third, we will consider Kant’s and Hegel’s critiques of eclecticism and their impact on the Enlightenment. While we will primarily focus on the German and French contexts, we will also take into account contemporaneous European treatments of eclecticism and eclectic approaches in natural philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, and methodology. Several relevant case studies will be examined as well.

The conference aims to address (but is not limited to) the following questions: What is the relation between eclecticism, skepticism, and dogmatism? Is eclectic philosophy incompatible with systematic philosophy? How does eclectic philosophy relate to syncretism? Does the natural philosopher have to be an eclectic thinker? How do specific eclectic thinkers elaborate their perspectives? Can the eclectic method be applied to metaphysics? Can we speak of several types of eclecticism (Donini) or advocate a significant difference between the understandings of the term in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Billard)? Is there a specific eclectic philosophy promoted by the Berlin Academy? Does Kant discard the eclectic art of philosophizing altogether or does he take up central eclectic elements under a different name (Hinske)? What is Cousin’s original contribution to eclectic philosophy?


Monday, 4 November 2019

Venue: ICUB (Dimitrie Brandza str 1)

9.15-9.30 Opening

9.30-10.20 Sophie Roux (ENS Paris, PSL University), Eclecticism and scepticism in Early Modern France

10.20-11.10 Rodolfo Garau (ERC Early Modern Cosmology, Ca’ Foscari, Venice), On Gassendi’s eclecticism

11.10-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.20 Mihnea Dobre (University of Bucharest), Religion and philosophy: Cartesian cosmology in the late seventeenth century

12.20-14.00 Lunch

14.00-14.50 Stefan Hessbrüggen-Walter (HSE University, Moscow), How to define philosophy? German answers 1650-1700

14.50-15.40 Christian Henkel (University of Groningen), The scientific method and eclecticism of Johann Christoph Sturm: An instance of Baconianism?

15.40-16.10 Coffee

16.10-17.00 Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Nicolas Poisson’s logical eclecticism

17.00-17.50 Oana Matei (University of Bucharest), Sur le progrès des sciences”: Maupertuis and Bacon on the advancement of knowledge

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Venue: New Europe College (Plantelor str. 21)

10.00-10.50 Mario Longo (University of Verona), Brucker and eclecticism: genesis and destiny of a historical-philosophical category (in Italian, English text provided)

10.50-11.10 Coffee

11.10-12.00 Igor Agostini (Salento University, Lecce), La doctrine cartésienne de la substance chez Wolff

12.00-12.50 Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest), The eclectic philosophy of the Berlin Academy: Thomasian heritage and ‘academic spirit’

12.50-14.30 Lunch

14.30-15.20 Alessandro Nannini (University of Bucharest), On the idea of ‘interesting’: Garve and aesthetic eclecticism

15.20-16.10 Manja Kisner (LMU, Munich), Kant’s account of systematicity, originality and eclecticism in his critical philosophy

16.10-16.30 Coffee

16.30-17.20 Ansgar Lyssy (LMU, Munich), Hegel on eclecticism

17.20-18.10 Marta de Mendonça (Nova University, Lisbon), Cousin et l’éclectisme de Leibniz


The conference is organized by ICUB – University of Bucharest, Mathesis – République des savoirs (École Normale Supérieure, PSL University), and New Europe College, within the framework of the research project Progress through Eclecticism? The Redefinition of Metaphysics at the Berlin Academy in the Second Half of the 18th Century (UEFISCDI-CNCS: PN-III-P1-1-TE-2016-2299).

Citer ce billet
Sophie Roux (2019, 25 octobre). Eclecticism and Eclectic Philosophy in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Mathesis. Consulté le 14 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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