THE SOUL – in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions – Soul is the incorporeal essence of a person, living thing, or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that only humans have souls, while others teach that all living things, and even inanimate objects (such as rivers), have souls. The latter belief is commonly called animism (attribution of conscious life). SOUL can function as a synonym for spirit, mind or self. Scientific works, in particular, often consider ‘SOUL’ as a synonym for ‘mind’.
Aristotle identified three hierarchical levels of living things: plants, animals, and people, for which groups he identified three corresponding levels of SOUL, or biological activity: The form of a living thing is its SOUL (Greek psyche, Latin anima). There are three kinds of souls: the “vegetative soul” of plants, which causes them to grow and decay and nourish themselves, but does not cause motion and sensation; the “animal soul” which causes animals to move and feel; and the “rational soul” which is the source of consciousness and reasoning which (Aristotle believed) is found only in humans. Each higher soul has all the attributes of the lower one. Aristotle believed that while matter can exist without form, form cannot exist without matter, and therefore the SOUL cannot exist without the body.