The article considers part of the complex history of the concept of a world soul. Starting from debates in the late 18th century and especially with the contribution by Salomon Maimon, it is argued that the precise shape of the idea of the world soul encountered there can be explained with the help of a specific intellectual tradition combining Platonic and Aristotelian ideas. Beginning with hemistius in the 4th century there is evidence of a view aligning the theory of a world soul from Plato’s Timaeus with Aristotle’s idea of celestial heat in De generatione animalium II, 3. Traces of this syncretistic view, it is then shown, are to be found in Averroes and have later inluenced renaissance discussion about the nature and the origin of life. h ere is some probability that acquaintance with the latter, which can be proved for 18th century thinkers, helps explain the precise shape of the contribution of Maimon and some others.
Keywords: world soul · celestial heat · Plato · Aristotle · Kant · Maimon · themistius · Averroes · Blumenbach · Cardano · panpsychism · Buonamici
The journal founded by Leszek Kołakowski, Bronisław Baczko and Jan Garewicz appears continuously since 1957.