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Anima Mundi

[the soul of the world], with the oldest of the ancient philosophers, meant “the source of life”; with Plato, it meant “the animating principle of matter,” inferior to pure spirit: with the Stoics, it meant “the whole vital force of the universe.”

Stahl (1710) taught that the phenomena of animal life are due to an immortal animal, or vital principle distinct from matter.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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