In the cosmology of the Stoics we have the germ of a monistic and pantheistic conception of evolution.
The system itself aims in principle at being thoroughly monistic; but, since matter, although created by God out of nothing, was regarded merely as the sphere in which souls are punished and purified, the system is pervaded by a strongly dualistic element.
A system of emanations of this kind, in its purest form, is set forth in the expositions coming from the school of Basilides, which are handed down by Irenaeus, while the propositions which are set forth in the Philosophumena of Hippolytus as being doctrines of Basilides represent a still closer approach to a monistic philosophy.
Both the systems which are handed down under his name by Irenaeus and Hippolytus, that of emanations and the monistic-evolutionary system, represent further developments of his ideas with a tendency away from dualism towards monism.
It is really both: monistic, because it reduces substance to one kind; materialistic, because it identifies that one kind of substance with body or matter, and reduces mindto an attribute of matter.
It is not to be dualistic but monistic realism, because matter is not separate from spirit.
It is to be monistic ideal realism, like that of Fichte and Hegel; not, however, like theirs idealistic in method, a Phantastisches Begrifsgebaude, but realistic in method, a Wissenschaftliche Philosophie.
Lotze's procedure is, indeed, analogous to the way in which, in his philosophy of nature, he starts from a plurality of real beings, but by means of a reductive movement, an application of Kant's transcendental method, arrives at the postulate or fact of a law of their reciprocal action which calls for a monistic and idealist interpretation.
Whilst Sankara's chief title to fame rests on his philosophical works, as the upholder of the strict monistic theory of Vedanta, he doubtless played an important part in the partial remodelling of the Hindu system of belief at a time when Buddhism was rapidly losing ground in India.
On the speculative side, Ramanuja also met Sankara's strictly monistic theory by another recognizing Vishnu as identical with Brahma as the Supreme Spirit animating the material world as well as the individual souls which have become estranged from God through unbelief, and can only attain again conscious union with him through devotion or love (bhakti).