In what sense do plants and animals, as well as humans, have souls? What is the difference between these types of souls?.
Defined by the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary, a soul is the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life. It is also described as the spiritual principle embodied in beings and an active or essential part to every being in the universe. For the purpose of this philosophical view on the soul, we will not only focus on this commonly accepted definition, but we will also focus on the definition that philosophers have clung to over the years. A philosopher states that the soul is "the vitalizing principle by which a thing is able to perform activities which we associate with being alive." Philosophers further narrow their definition down to describing the functions of vital activity to the "minimum powers of nutrition, growth, and reproduction." Although it is not always easy to draw a line between something living and non-living, such as the example of a virus, it is easy to determine through rationalization that plants, animals, and men do indeed have souls. Because it is easier to observe humans because we understand them so well, it is also easier to focus in on the presence of the human soul.
When we look at plants, animals, and human beings, we see an upwards climb in order and capability. With that upwards climb in capability comes a scheme of different kinds of souls. Obviously, plants are less ordered than animals, which are in turn less ordered than human beings, the most civilized being of the three. The animal soul is different than the plant soul because an animal possesses the "powers of sensation and movement from place to place," while a plant is helpless to such voluntary changes. The human soul is different than the animal soul because a human possesses the "powers of intellect and will." .
Sometimes a very difficult concept to grasp, but the easiest of the three, the idea of a human soul is actually very simple to understand.