An obsolete term used by anthropologists and scholars of
comparative religions to designate a doctrine of spiritual being,
or the concept that a great part, if not the whole, of inanimate
nature, as well as of animate beings, is endowed with reason
and volition similar to that of man. The idea, originally proposed
by E. B. Taylor in his influential text, Primitive Cultures,
was soon accepted by his colleagues and remained popular into
the mid-nineteenth century.
Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.
New York Collier, 1961.