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Holism

Holism (from Greekholos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts.

The term Holism was coined by J C Smuts in Holism and Evolution. It was Smuts' opinion that Holism is a concept that represents all of the wholes in the universe, and it is a factor because the wholes it denotes are the real factors in the universe. Further, it was his opinion that Holism also denoted a theory of the universe in the same vein as Materialism and Spiritualism; that the ultimate reality in the universe is neither matter nor spirit but wholes as defined in Holism and Evolution. While he offered these different definitions, Smuts clearly stated his opinion that its primary and proper use was to denote the totality of wholes which operate as real factors and give to reality its dynamic evolutionary creative character. Aside from the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the editor has been unable to identify authoritative secondary sources corroborating Smuts' definitions. When elaborations for the mental, personal and social categories are provided, and a case is made that Holism is a bonafide monistic ontology, we can revisit the vision of Holism that Smuts held.

Holism (disambiguation)

Holism may refer to:

  • Holism a philosophical concept
  • -holism, a general suffix pertaining to addiction
  • Complementary holism, a social theory or conceptual framework
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

holism

1926, apparently by South African Gen. J.C. Smuts (1870-1950) in his book "Holism and Evolution" which treats of evolution as a process of unification of separate parts; from Greek holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)) + -ism.\n\nThis character of "wholeness" meets us everywhere and points to something fundamental in the universe. Holism (from [holos] = whole) is the term here coined for this fundamental factor operative towards the creation of wholes in the universe.

[Smuts, "Holism and Evolution," p.86]

WordNet

holism

n. the theory that the parts of any whole cannot exist and cannot be understood except in their relation to the whole; "holism holds that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"; "holistic theory has been applied to ecology and language and mental states" [syn: holistic theory] [ant: atomism]

Wiktionary

holism

n. 1 A theory or belief that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. 2 A practice based on such theory or belief.

Usage examples of "holism".

Enlightenment paradigm: the holism of nature produced the atomism of the self.

From world-centric pluralism to divine egoism and biocentric sensory immersionat one with sentimental nature in my own self-reverberating feelingsthis was the other endgame of flatland holism, a morbid embrace driven by a Thanatos that, in the way of all deception, whispered always of the wonders of ever-shallower engagements.

This Batesonian cybernetic holism, says Berman, is by far the best candidate for world salvation in the postmodern era.

A true holism should embrace not only the theory of living systems, but also the reality of the belly, of wind, hunger, and snowworms roasting over a fire on a cold winter night.

World Soul and Eco-Noetic Self is misinterpreted in terms of a flatland holism that, in leveling qualitative distinctions, paralyzes actions that would further the descent of that World Soul.

Virtually all present-day ecophilosophers, precisely because they are not nondual in their approach, are forced to argue the continuity thesis, which earns for them the charge from critics of being eco-fascists, which bewilders the ecophilosophers, who imagine that a flatland holism is actually a liberating notion.

Great Holarchy of Being was collapsed into a monological and flatland holism of observable exteriors, namely, the great interlocking order.

THE EGO AND THE Eco We earlier noted the altogether extraordinary paradox of the Enlightenment paradigm: the holism of nature produced the atomism of the self.

From world-centric pluralism to divine egoism and biocentric sensory immersionat one with sentimental nature in my own self-reverberating feelingsthis was the other endgame of flatland holism, a morbid embrace driven by a Thanatos that, in the way of all deception, whispered always of the wonders of ever-shallower engagements.

No strand in the web is ever aware of the whole web, which is why empirical holism ends up divisive, dualistic, and isolationist.

The new theories that had given birth to holism quantum mechanics, batesonian epistemology, general systems theory, cybernetics and information theory had grown into elaborate, intricate systems representing reality with the language and symbols of the universal syntax.