(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.
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