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Diccionario filosófico
Voltaire. Complete edition.


Diccionario de Filosofía

Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


 A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms  Francis Garden


Biografías y semblanzas  Biographical references and lives of philosophers.


Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset


History of Philosophy Summaries


Historia de la Filosofía

Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises... 


Historia de la Filosofía

Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes


Historia de la Filosofía

 Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González


Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres

 Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos



Introductory Paragraph

Early Ionic Natural Philosophers

The Pythagoreans

The Eleatics


Later Natural Philosophers

General Character of the First Period in the History of Greek Philosophy

The Sophist


The Followers of Socrates

The Lesser Socratics

Plato. Life. Works

Plato. Philosophy

The Disciples of Plato

The Old Academy

Aristotle: Life and works

Aristotle: Theory of Knowledge

Aristotle: Metaphysics

Aristotle: Physics

Aristotle: Psychology

Aristotle: Practical Philosophy

Aristotle: Rhetoric and Poetic

Aristotle: Sources

Aristotle: Unity of Plato and Aristotle

Aristotle: result

The Peripatetic School

Three Leading Post-Aristotelian Schools

The Stoics and Stoicism

The Epicureans and Epicureanism

The Sceptics

The Common Ground of the Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics

Philosophy in Rome: Eclecticism

The Later Peripatetics

The Later Academics

The Later Stoics

General Character of the Second Period

Standpoint and Schools of the Third and Latest Period of Greek Philosophy

Jewish-Alexandrian School


The Eclectic Platonist

Neo-Platonism. Plotinus

Neo-Platonism. Porphyry. Jamblichus

Neo-Platonism. Proclus




B. C. BURT (1852-1915) - Table of contents                        




§ 21 - Philosophy in Rome: Eclecticism (1)


In the schools we have just been considering, thought appears to have reached a natural limit or, rather, turning-point: ceasing (with Aristotle) to be thought for its own sake and in its true universal character (the Thought of Thought), it has become thought for action's sake; it is no longer the thought of the universal but is the thought of the individual. Beyond this limit, or turning-point, thought gives place to action, or life. In this direction nothing, it would seem, is to be expected of philosophy but a repetition of itself or a passing into exhortation and conduct. 

  A complete return to a development of the earlier standpoint, that of Plato and Aristotle, seems practically impossible. The strained, paradoxical individualism of the Stoic doctrine and spirit, the evident one-sidedness of Epicureanism, and the destructive negativism of Scepticism are all—and particularly the last-mentioned—of a character to produce distrust of philosophy as a science, to disintegrate and scatter thought rather than concentrate it and give it the active consciousness of organic totality. Nor was there anything in the outward fortunes of philosophy to beget—directly—this consciousness. The Roman world—and all the world at this time was becoming Roman—was a world of action. Philosophers were Romans, or, if not, must think for Romans: in Rome, even philosophy must, literally, "do as the Romans do" and, as it happens, must be practical, in the narrowest sense. It must give up, to a large extent, its pretension to universality as regards the object of knowledge or the knowing subject. Philosophy, in other words, becomes "eclectic": the individual thinks whatever practical necessity or convenience for him requires or suggests, is governed by theoretical necessity neither as regards the source, origin, or consistency of his thought. He borrows ideas and combines them loosely; he borrows only such ideas as have a practical bearing, and gives them only such combination and setting as the practical demands or suggests. Differences as regards the amount of borrowing, the sources from which they borrow, and the manner of combining and setting borrowed ideas make the differences between the "Eclectics". The Eclectics do not, of course, constitute a school in any strict sense of the term. The greatest number of the so-called Eclectics are of Stoic persuasion; but we also find among them quasi-representatives of the Peripatetic School, the Academy, and the Cynic School. The Epicureans did not become Eclectics but remained a distinct sect. We begin with the later Peripatetics.


(1) Se Zeller's The Eclectics.



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