The Philosophical Incompatibility of Spinoza’s System with the World Soul Theory. Bayle’s Identification of Spinozism with the World Soul Theory, and Wachter’s Denial of the Same. Lessing’s Statement Concerning the World Soul, and His Alleged Spinozism in Jacobi’s Ueber die Lehre des Spinoza (11785), Mendelssohn’s Morgenstunden (1785), and Herder’s Gott. Einige Gespräche (1787). Herder’s Rejection of the Identification of God with the Weltseele
As we have just mentioned, Spinozism, i.e., BaruchSpinoza’s (1632–1676) system, or, more specifically, its psychological facet – his theory of the mind – has been considered by many as philosophically closely related to the theory of the world soul. The ground for establishing this alleged link has been what is termed by S.Zac asSpinoza’sanimismthe idea that ‘everything is animate to some specific degree’, “…omnia, quamvis diversis gradibus, animata tamen sunt”.If human mind,mens humana is “nothing else than the idea of an individual thing actually existing”(i.e., ifmind is a kind ofidea in that it is knowledge of the body correlated to it), and if, analogically, the divine mind is also one universalidea, then God, one of whose essential attributes is the material universe (the world ofextensio) forSpinoza, could be regarded as a mind correlated with that universe, i.e., as a sort of higheranima mundi.