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1. any doctrine that a system may have properties over and above those of its parts and their organization
2. the treatment of any subject as a whole integrated system, esp, in medicine, the consideration of the complete person, physically and psychologically, in the treatment of a disease
3. Philosophy one of a number of methodological theses holding that the significance of the parts can only be understood in terms of their contribution to the significance of the whole and that the latter must therefore be epistemologically prior
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


  1. any form of sociological theory which emphasizes the primacy of ‘social structure’, ‘social system’, etc., in determining social outcomes, and in sociological explanations. The opposite position is METHODOLOGICAL INDIVIDUALISM. As used by POPPER (1957), the term is mainly a pejorative one. see also SITUATIONAL LOGIC.
  2. in a more neutral sense, the tendency of sociology, in contrast with other more specialized social sciences, to maintain an all-inclusive view of social phenomena.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an idealist philosophy of “wholes.” The term was introduced by J. Smuts in his Holism and Evolution (1926).

According to holism, the world is governed by a process of creative evolution, or the process of creating new “wholes.” In the course of evolution, the forms of matter are transformed and renewed, never remaining constant; the holistic process rejects the law of conservation of matter. An unperceived, nonmaterial field, similar to Leibnitz’ monad, which remains constant throughout all of an organism’s changes, is considered to be the bearer of all organic attributes. The “whole” is interpreted in holism as the highest philosophical concept, which synthesizes in itself the objective and the subjective; it is considered to be the “last reality of the universe.” According to holism, the highest concrete form of organic “whole” is the human personality. Imparting a mystical character to the “factor of wholeness,” holism considers it to be nonmaterial and unknowable.

Holistic ideas have been developed by A. Meyer-Abich in Germany and A. Leman in France. In modern Western literature the term is sometimes used to designate the principle of integrity.


Bogomolov, A. S. Ideia razvitiia v burzhuaznoi filosofii 19 i 20 vekov. Moscow, 1962.
Kremianskii, V. I. Strukturnye urovni zhivoi materii. Moscow, 1969.
Haldane, J. S. The Philosophical Basis of Biology. London, 1931.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The view that the whole of a complex system, such as a cell or organism, is functionally greater than the sum of its parts. Also known as organicism.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Contact: Rockhaven Center for Holistic Living, 7621 Rivermont Trail, House Springs, MO 63501.
Investors not only acquire prime real estate; they also acquire unrivaled access to holistic living that delicately combines natural beauty and luxury lifestyle.
EeThe 18 storied masterpieces will provide a holistic living experience to discerning home buyers.
Give time to holistic living. It's not just something that millions of life coaches preach; in all honesty, it will only make you more productive at work.
Karim El-Jisr, executive director of the SEE Nexus, the knowledge arm of TSC, says such holistic living was part of the master plan.
Ahmed Yousef Khouri, board member of Union Properties, said: "We support the UAE leadership's vision of developing sustainable, holistic living experiences that promote a healthy and happy lifestyle.
It has intended to appeal to"fast-paced entrepreneurs and creative minds seeking a collaborative, sustainable, and urban hub providing a holistic living environment," said ECC.
Fulfilling Vireya's vision of holistic living amid the mountainside tropics are points of interest found within the community.
He has traversed every cycle of holistic living across the world to promote the impact of non-conventional medicines.
The H2 Award will recognise schools that support healthy eating, holistic living and positive working and studying environments.
A model of holistic living, the development features perhaps the fullest range of amenities in a single complex.

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