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The question of the reality of the soul and its distinction from the body is among themost important problems of philosophy for with it is bound up the doctrine of a futurelife The soul may be defined as the ultimate internal principle by which we think feeland will and by which our bodies are animated The term mind usually denotesthis principle as the subject of our conscious states while soul denotes thesource of our vegetative activities as well If there is life after death the agent ofour vital activities must be capable of an existence separate from the body The belief inan active principle in some sense distinct from the body is inference from the observedfacts of life The lowest savages arrive at the concept of the soul almost withoutreflection certainly without any severe mental effort The mysteries of birth and deaththe lapse of conscious life during sleep even the most common operations of imaginationand memory which abstract a man from his bodily presence even while awake all such factssuggest the existence of something besides the visible organism An existence not entirelydefined by the material and to a large extent independent of it leading a life of itsown In the psychology of the savage the soul is often represented as actually migratingto and fro during dreams and trances and after death haunting the neighborhood of itsbody Nearly always it is figured as something extremely volatile a perfume or a breath In Greece the heartland of our ancient philosophers the first essays of philosophy tooka positive and somewhat materialistic direction inherited from the pre-philosophic agefrom Homer and the early Greek religion In Homer while the distinction of soul and bodyis recognized the soul is hardly conceived as possessing a substantial existence of itsown Severed from the body it is a mere shadow incapable of energetic life Otherphilosophers described the souls nature in terms of substance Anaximander gives it anaeriform constitution Heraclitus describes it as a fire
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