Formation of the Philosophical Concept of System: Bartholomäus Keckermann

Keywords: system and method, philosophy as system, logic as system, matter and form of knowledge


The author proves that the concept of system developed by Bartholomäus Keckermann has a normative character. At the same time, the author emphasizes close connection of didactical, methodical, gnoseological and ontological aspects of his concept of system. According to the author, the unity of these aspects is guaranteed by ontological prerequisites, in particular by the view of the nature as the most harmonious whole, which defines the order of any system. The author recognizes innovative character of Keckermann’s treatment of system as a generic concept for designation of the nature of philosophy. According to Keckermann, the essence of philosophy is formed by the normative instructions, not by acquired ability (habitus). The concept of philosophy as a system of instructions is an alternative to the scholastic requirement to begin research with a definition of the concept of philosophy, its nature and its subject. Since philosophy is a conglomerate of disciplines, not something simple, it is impossible to define its concept. In order to avoid syncretism, Keckerman demands to bring each of these disciplines into system, and then coordinate them. Though instructions define a form and essence of any discipline, and also form the corresponding abilities, the author of this article rejects purely formal treatment of Keckerman’ concept of system. Keckermann understood the form not as a purely intelligible something, but as a system of norms, as something that can be written down, transferred to others and apprehended by them. Besides, instructions of one science could be used as a material for the other sciences. The author sees a main goal of Keckermann as a formation of such system of philosophy, which would take into account all normative principles made by his great predecessors. The author also proves that Keckermann, unlike eclectics, emphasized a primacy of form over content and used a priori method, whereas eclectic started mainly from experience, were guided by the concept of an open system and used a posteriori method.

Author Biography

Sergiy Secundant, I. Mechnikov Odessa National University
doctor of sciences in philosophy, associated professor of Department of Philosophy and Grounds of Humanities


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How to Cite
Secundant, S. (2016). Formation of the Philosophical Concept of System: Bartholomäus Keckermann. Sententiae, 34(1), 80-94.