Animism

Discipline: Philosophy

A term variously used, in particular for the view that apparently inanimate parts of the universe (rivers, mountains, stars, and so on, as well as plants) are in fact animated and activated by souls or spirits; for example, Naiads (springs), Dryads (oak-trees) and so on.

Usually the term is applied to primitive beliefs of this nature rather than to philosophical views claiming to see life in the apparently lifeless (for which also see: hylozoism, panpsychism, vitalism).

'Teleological animism' has been used for the view that some wholes organize themselves and their parts so as to fulfill certain aims which they themselves originate.

Also see: organicism

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