Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. The term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts in his 1926 book Holism and Evolution.
The exact meaning of "holism" depends on context. Smuts originally used "holism" to refer to the tendency in nature to produce wholes from the ordered grouping of unit structures. However, in common usage, "holism" usually refers to the idea that a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this sense, "holism" may also be spelled "wholism", and it may be contrasted with reductionism or atomism. Finally, in the context of holistic medicine, "holism" refers to treating all aspects of a person's health, including psychological and cultural factors, rather than only his/her physical conditions or symptoms. In this sense, holism may also be called "holiatry".
- Oshry, Barry (2008), Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life, Berrett-Koehler.
- Auyang, Sunny Y (1999), Foundations of Complex-system Theories: in Economics, Evolutionary Biology, and Statistical Physics, Cambridge University Press.
- "holism, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2019, www.oed.com/view/Entry/87726. Accessed 23 October 2019.
- J. C. Poynton (1987) SMUTS'S HOLISM AND EVOLUTION SIXTY YEARS ON, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 46:3, 181-189, DOI:10.1080/00359198709520121
- "wholism, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2019, www.oed.com/view/Entry/228738. Accessed 23 October 2019.
- "holistic, adj." OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2019, www.oed.com/view/Entry/87727. Accessed 23 October 2019.
- Dictionary.com: holism
- Fodor, Jerry, and Ernst Lepore, Holism: A Shopper's Guide Wiley. New York. 1992
- Phillips, D.C. Holistic Thought in Social Science. Stanford University Press. Stanford. 1976.
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