A “Critical” History of Philosophy and the Early Enlightenment: Johann Jacob Brucker
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Johann Jakob Brucker was not only the most prolific writer on the history of philosophy in Germany up to the middle of the eighteenth century, but it was he above all who understood how best to respond in his writings to the demands that the philosophical culture of the time was making of the historian of philosophy. The notion of eclecticism, which he inherited from the Thomasian current and which was originally a tool of philosophical argument against Aristotelian Scholasticism, was transformed into a historical notion of much greater importance, providing a technique for reading the past of philosophy that rendered it topical and placed it at the centre of philosophical debate. The eclectic is not indifferent when confronted with any manifestation of thought, even if it is very far from the spirit of his time, since he wishes to know about the sources and the possibilities of error, and to free the field of research from the prejudices and obstacles that have so far impeded the attainment of truth. The history of philosophy also shows the progress that man has made on this path, described as a progress out of the darkness of the sects and into the light of eclecticism, and marked by a gradual and increasingly secure recognition of the limitations and capabilities of human reason.