Eclectic, selecting; relating to the Eclectics, philosophers of antiquity, who, without attaching themselves to any particular system, professed to select from the various existing systems what they believed to be true, and thus to construct a new and complete whole. Modern eclecticism is considered to have taken its rise in the 17th century with Bacon and Descartes but in the 19th century it received a fresh impetus through the labors of the German philosopher Hegel, and of Victor Cousin.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.