world soul, Lat. anima mundi, in philosophy, term denoting a universal spirit or soul that functions as an organizing principle. While many early Greek philosophers saw the world as of one principle, Plato was the first to state that this concept held the same relation to the world as the human soul did to the body. Friedrich Wilhelm Josef von Schelling used the term as a unifying principle, coordinating the organic and the inorganic in life. World soul is prominent in Asian philosophy. Hinduism is a religion whose theoretical basis is a world soul, called Brahman (see Upanishads; Vedanta).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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