The monism is a philosophical doctrine which holds that the universe is formed by a single arche , which means a single cause or primary substance. In this way, the faithful of materialistic monism insist that everything around us is reduced to matter, while, for the monists of the spiritual field or idealists, that single principle is based on the spirit, and for the pantheists it is only God. . For many philosophers, monism is the union of the soul and the bodybecause for them, these two aspects have no difference, but, on the contrary, they are a single substance that constitutes the totality of things, which is also known by the name of arjé .

What is monism?

Monism is a philosophical doctrine that teaches us that it holds that our universe is made up of a single arche , a single substance without differences. It is the union, for many philosophers, of the soul and the body , since they do not have any difference as they are a single substance.

  • Characteristics of monism
  • History of monism
  • Types of monism
  • Metaphysical
  • Theological
  • Psychological
  • Epistemological
  • Cosmological
  • Ethical

Characteristics of monism

  • For monists, the human being is a single unit .
  • The soul and the body are not different, on the contrary, they are different manifestations of a single substance that forms the totality of things.
  • They establish a single principle to which everything real is reduced .
  • They flatly deny the existence of the mind as a reality other than the brain .
  • It can become gnoseological or metaphysical or both together.
  • Today it can emerge as a type of spiritualism that, without denying nature or its actions, encompasses them in the larger unit of a teleology.

History of monism

Monism was used for the first time by the philosopher Christian Wolff , in the year 1679. The term has a very long history and goes back to the philosophers of pre-Socratic origin and who sought to give a unifying principle with the aim of explaining the diversity that existed in the world. One of his main followers was Parmenides , who said that reality was a single unit without any difference. It was widely accepted by the Hindu religion and Buddhism . We also find neutral monism was introduced in the seventeenth century through the Dutch Jewish philosopher Spinoza. Currently, a version of this theory has been evolved by the American philosopher Donald Davidson .

Types of monism


It was established by the ancient Hindu philosophers who established as a fundamental truth that the world is all illusion, and that plurality and cause are not real, since there is only one reality, and this is God . This type of monism has a tendency to mysticism. They consider that there is only one reality, which can be matter or spirit or something else that is beyond or beyond matter or spirit .


It is not widely used in the branch of theology as they tend to cause confusion . Completely opposed to polytheism , theological monism is accepted by the Christian religion . For theological monotheists the universe is a manifestation of God . Its main opponent is theism , a doctrine that does not deny the presence of God, but does disagree that the universe does not have its own reality.


This type of monism looks for a way to eliminate the distinctions that are made between the body and the soul and does it through three different ways:

  • Materialistic monism : denies that there is a difference between the soul and the body .
  • Idealistic monism : find a way to reduce the body to the mind or the different types of mental conditions that exist.
  • Psychophysical parallelism : He flatly denies that there can be a direct causal influence of the soul on the body and, in addition, affirms that the body and the soul are phases of something different that evolves its activities through parallel, physical lines, ways of thinking, that have direct influence.


It is currently known as absolutism . Its main principle is idealism . It indicates that the human being and objects are phases in an unlimited consciousness called the absolute and that things and thoughts are not different from that absolute.


It focuses mainly on the origin that our universe had . The first Ionian philosophers believed that the main cause or arché that formed the universe was a substance of which the universe was made. They believed that nature was very active due to its nature and that it is full of life. It was the one that provoked, long after its promulgation, a dualistic conception regarding the origin of the world.


It doesn’t have many uses when it comes to ethics. On some occasions, this monism can be used to designate a doctrine that explains how the moral law is autonomous.

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