To start with here is two definitions of Eclecticism:
- the practice of deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. "the eclecticism of his work consciously reflects his upbringing"
- 2. PHILOSOPHY the theories or methods of the ancient Eclectic philosophers, who did not belong to or found any recognized school of thought but selected doctrines from various schools of thought. "there was a double movement going on, towards Eclecticism on the one side, and towards Scepticism on the other side"
Some famous examples throughout history are:
- Hellenistic Jews: Similar to Catholics, took many concepts from Greeks and implemented them into their religion.
- Catholics and Eastern Orthodox: Aristotle and Plato respectively is a the foundation of both these massive religions metaphysical ground work, transubstantiation, the view that when the Priest says the words of consecration the substance of the bread is "converted" to the body of Christ and by "natural accompaniment the blood, soul and divinity are also present comes directly from Aristotle accidents and substances.
- Neo Platonism: Although I am unaware of any person directly speaking of this in a academic paper or book (there may be I am just unaware) Neo Platonism takes from Plato and has many similarities to the Vedic schools. ( I should say Plotinus wouldn't have called himself a Neoplatonist but just a Platonist, it's the mix of the Vedic schools that's the Eclectic part)
- Mindfulness - Neo Buddhism: The Idea that you can insert mindfulness into any religion, philosophy, cooperate meeting, sports event while forgoing the tradition behind the practice (and the point of the practice)
- Modern Stoicism: Takes the ethical part of the ancient Stoics world view but everything else is replaced by either Christianity, Islam et al or by some atheistic movement.
Is it a problem for Epicurean Philosophy?
What is being spoken about with this question is this. Is Epicurean philosophy lacking in any of it's 3 main parts - Physics, Canon and Ethics so that it needs to be supplemented with another philosophy or practice?
What is not being spoken about is whether we should take Epicurus physics directly as true and ignore any modern scientific discovery and advancements. Obviously we update as we go, just as Epicurus would.
Many people take bits and pieces of neo-Epicureanism - asceticism, "enjoying cheese", simple pleasures but ignore the entire corpus left behind and being spoke about today, missing the entire reason Epicurus spoke about pleasure to begin with.
So what is the danger or benefit to people committed to saying "Epicurus was more or less right about everything related to living and nature"?
The most obvious one is losing identity all together. A personal anecdote from living in a monastery in the Catholic Church is that it wasn't Catholic. They were practically Buddhists that said Mass.
Has eclecticism influenced your EP? Do you think it's beneficial, what do you think the dangers are?