Greek Life: Psyche and Early Life-Concepts

  • Lucas John Mix


Greek theories of life clustered around the psyche. Usually translated as “soul,” it can also be thought of as a principle of life. The oldest usage comes from Homer, speaking of human life at its limits. Presocratic philosophers used the soul to make sense of the motion of living things, which is more complex than the motion of elements. They proposed both material and immaterial souls and debated whether one soul was enough to explain living things, or if multiple souls were needed. This chapter follows the earliest uses of the term psyche as it comes to be associated with biological motion and contrasted with the motion of elements.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas John Mix
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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