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Theology, physics, and mental science were not as yet distinguished.
It is only with the rise of dialectic and the growing recognition of the problem of knowledge that a genuinely psychological theory became possible.
With this doctrine was combined, according to Cicero, the belief in a universal world-spirit, from which all particular souls are derived.
All these early theories were cosmological rather than psychological in character.
Indian philosophy, whether Brahminic or Buddhistic, with its various systems of metempsychosis, accentuated the distinction of soul and body, making the bodily life a mere transitory episode in the existence of the soul.
They all taught the doctrine of limited immortality , ending either with the periodic world-destruction ( Brahminism ) or with attainment of Nirvana (Buddhism).
The earliest school was that of the Hylozoists ; these conceived the soul as a kind of cosmic force, and attributed animation to the whole of nature.
Any natural force might be designated psyche : thus Thales uses this term for the attractive force of the magnet, and similar language is quoted even from Anaxagoras and Democritus.
the well-known allegory of the charioteer and the two steeds in that dialogue).Anaximander gives it an aeriform constitution, Heraclitus describes it as a fire. The cosmic ether or fire is the subtlest of the elements, the nourishing flame which imparts heat, life, sense, and intelligence to all things in their several degrees and kinds.The Pythagoreans taught that the soul is a harmony, its essence consisting in those perfect mathematical ratios which are the law of the universe and the music of the heavenly spheres.(Greek psyche ; Latin anima ; French ame ; German Seele ).The question of the reality of the soul and its distinction from the body is among the most important problems of philosophy, for with it is bound up the doctrine of a future life.
In Plato the two standpoints, the cosmological and the epistemological, are found combined. 30) we find an account derived from Pythagorean sources of the origin of the soul.