Hylozoism

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Hylozoism

 

the philosophical doctrine that all matter is animated. The term was introduced in the 17th century.

Hylozoism dates from the very beginning of philosophy and occurs in the Ionian school of natural philosophers— Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. Heraclitus, Emped-ocles, and the stoics were close to hylozoism, and elements of it were included in Aristotle’s teachings. During the Renaissance, it appeared again in the teachings of the Italian natural philosophers B. Telesio and G. Bruno, Paracelsus, and others. Spinoza studied thought as a quality present in all of nature, as an attribute of matter. After him several French materialists, such as Diderot, Robinet, and Des-champs, acknowledged the general animation of matter. E. Haeckel defended a point of view similar to hylozoism.

According to hylozoism, life and hence sensitivity are present in all things in nature, in all forms of matter. Opposed to this philosophy is dialectical materialism, which considers sensation a property of only highly developed organic matter.