Discipline: Philosophy

Treatment of matter, or parts of the material world, as intrinsically alive.

Where animism tends to view the life as taking the form of discrete spirits, and panpsychism tends to refer to strictly philosophical views like that of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), hylozoism refers largely to views such as those of the earliest Greek philosophers (6th and 5th centuries BC).

Certain of these treated the magnet as alive because of its attractive powers (Thales), or air as 'divine' (Anaximenes), perhaps because of its apparently spontaneous power of movement, or because of its role as essential for life in animals.

However, some have since claimed that 'hylozoism' should properly be used only where body and soul are explicitly distinguished, the distinction then being rejected as invalid.

J Glucker, 'Who Invented "Hylozoism"?', Ionian Philosophy, K J Boudoouris, ed. (1989)


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