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World Soul
(183 words)

[German Version]

Following the Neoplatonic interpretation of Plato’s Timaeus, the term world soul refers to the notion that the cosmos is a living being endowed with a soul. In German Idealism, F.W.J. Schelling in particular adopted this view, to which J.W. v. Goethe also appealed. In his Von der Weltseele. Eine Hypothese der höheren Physik zur Erklärung des allgemeinen Organismus (1798; partial ET: On the World Soul, 2010), Schelling cited the world soul to answer the central problem of his natural philosophy, “the origin of the universal organism.” The inorg…

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Wesche, Tilo, “World Soul”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 27 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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