[Gr.,=belief in one], in metaphysics, term introduced in the 18th cent. by Christian von Wolff
for any theory that explains all phenomena by one unifying principle or as manifestations of a single substance. Monistic theorists differ considerably in their choice of a basis of unification. It may be material, as with Ernst Haeckel
, who took the substance, or energy, as the only reality. It may be spiritual, as with G. W. Hegel
, to whom mind, or spirit, is the reality by which all is to be explained. Or, as in Spinoza
, it may be a substance, or Deity, of which body and mind are attributes that are held in equipoise. The opposites of monism are dualism
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