The strain of the next three years' continuous work undermined his health and his eyesight, and he was compelled to retire from his professorship. During these years he had published works on Plato and Socrates and a history of philosophy (1875); but after his retirement he further developed his philosophical position, a speculative eclecticism through which he endeavoured to reconcile metaphysical idealism with the naturalistic and mechanical standpoint of science.
It is, however, certain that these fragments are mainly forgeries, attributable to the eclecticism of the 1st or 2nd century A.D., of which the chief characteristic was a desire to father later doctrines on the old masters.
ECLECTICISM (from Gr.
EKX yw, I select), a term used specially in philosophy and theology for a composite system of thought made up of views borrowed from various other systems. Where the characteristic doctrines of a philosophy are not thus merely adopted, but are the modified products of a blending of the systems from which it takes its rise, the philosophy is not properly eclectic. Eclecticism always tends to spring up after a period of vigorous constructive speculation, especially in the later stages of a controversy between thinkers of pre-eminent ability.
Since these combinations have often been as illogical as facile, "eclecticism" has generally acquired a somewhat contemptuous significance.