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WILLIAM FLEMING - 1890 - Table of contents

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H- I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W  

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden


Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

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

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





ANIMA MUNDI (soul of the world).—The hypothesis of a force, immaterial, and inseparable from matter, giving to matter its form and movement, which is coeval with the birth of philosophy. Pythagoras obscurely acknowledged such a force, holding that the world was living and intelligent, κόσμον ἔμψυχον, νοερὸν (Diog. Laert., bk. VIII. p, 25). From Pythagoras it passed into the system of Plato, who held that pure spirit, the seat of eternal idea, could not act directly upon matter. In the Timœus, "the most obscure" of the dialogues, as Jowett says, in which the influence of Pythagoras is conspicuous, Plato gives an account of the origin of the world, teaching that "the world became a living soul and truly rational—τὸν κόσμον ζῶον ἔμψυχον, ἔννουν—through the providence of God," (Timœus, 30). This is in accordance with the fixed plan of the Creator, for he "put intelligence in soul, and soul in body, and framed the universe to be the best and fairest work in the order of nature." The soul of the world was the source of all life, sensibility, and movement. The doctrine was prominent in the teaching of the Stoics, in whose system the anima mundi usurped the place and even the name of God. It is closely allied to the prevailing pantheism of their thought. Straton of Lampsacus identified it with nature. The School of Alexandria, on the other hand, adhering to the views of Plato, recognised intelligence and Deity as above the anima mundi, which they conceived as intermediate between the Creator and His works.


The hypothesis of the anima mundi was not entertained by the scholastic philosophers. But it reappeared under the name of Archœus—the vital principle— in the systems of Agrippa of Nettesheim, Paracelsus, and Van Helmont. In more recent times Henry More recognised a principium hylarchicum, and Cudworth a plastic nature, as the universal agent of physical phenomena, the cause of all forms of organisation, and the spring of all the movements of matter.



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