chapter  VII
46 Pages

—The Origins of Child Animism, Moral Necessity and Physical Determinism

THERE are three preliminary problems which must be discussed before any attempt can be made to trace the origins of child animism. We shall start by grouping in a first section such facts as we have been able to arrive at by pure observation (in opposition to those collected in answer to questions). Secondly, we shall analyse the only conviction, both systematic and entirely spontaneous, revealed by the preceding questions, namely the belief of children that the sun and moon follow them. Thirdly, we must examine the type of necessity (moral necessity and physical determinism) which the child ascribes to regular movements such as the laws of nature. The study of the obedience of the sun and moon will serve as introduction, moreover, to this more general research, which is indispensable to an analysis of the roots of animism. We shall then be in a position to conclude with an explanation of the origins of child animism.