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(414 words)

Author(s): Klein, Hans-Dieter
C. Wolff (1679–1754) brought the term “monism” into use in the academic philosophy of the German ¶ Enlightenment. It describes theories that trace all things back to one substance (e.g., the rational pantheism of B. Spinoza [1632–77]; Spinozism) versus those that do not (e.g., the system of R. Descartes [1596–1650], which began with two substances—the res cogitans, “thinking substance,” and the res extensa, “extended substance”; Cartesianism). The opposite concept is dualism. German idealism did not use the term “monism,” but it came into general use aft…