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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


  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.



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 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.
References in periodicals archive ?
More than just masking symptoms, Wholistic Medicine is able to treat the root cause of disease, and thus has the potential to cure it once and for all.
Parish Nursing and Health Ministries play a big part in showing clergy how the wholistic health of MIND-BODY-SPIRIT are important in their congregations and have assisted several of the churches in finding and educating registered nurses as parish nurses for their own congregations.
As naturally wholistic clinicians we are on the front line of discovering the root cause of ADD/ ADHD and are thereby the best equipped in successfully treating/reversing these maladies.
Indigenous thinking is at once wholistic, spiritual, and interrelated, with a strong sense of loyalty to natural and spiritual laws.
The author provides a wholistic approach to dealing with and preventing disasters, avoiding the pitfalls and cover-up tactics employed by officials in the past.
Person-centred care is introduced and highlighted throughout to provide a focus on the individualistic, interactive and wholistic nature of nursing and midwifery care.
Iridology consultation costs pounds 50 from Edinburgh-based Wholistic Healthcare UK, call 0845 1199 099 or go to www.
I believe that a wholistic approach to the well-being of Aboriginal women, our families and our communities can create opportunities that will improve all aspects of our lives," she added.
Mrs Riley said: "We're looking to set something up that offers a full, wholistic package for the whole family.
We have to assume a wholistic approach rather than one on pieces.
RD, LD/N, a wholistic nutritionist with more than 27 years' experience, helps her clients prepare an individualized eating plan and often recommends vitamins and mineral supplements, digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc.