integrative concepts


1. A world view based on the biological as a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function as a whole. In any realm of biological phenomena (whether embryonic development, metabolism, growth, etc.), the behaviour of an element is different within the system from what it is in isolation. The sum of the behaviour of the isolated parts does not equal the behaviour of the whole because the relationships between the various subordinated systems and the system which are super-ordinated to them affect the behaviour of the parts. Thus the organismic view looks at the world in terms of systems, wholes, and organizations, in contrast to the opposing reductionist view which looks at the world in terms of its component elements.
2. A philosophy recognizing the ultimacy of both parts of knowledge (such as a particular science, or the life-scheme of a particular person) and some whole of knowledge (such as a compendious history of mankind) but in such a way as to see their perpetual, dynamic interdependence. It is therefore a way of integrating knowledge. No whole of knowledge can be regarded as having organic integrity which fails to respect the partial autonomy of its parts. But also no part of knowledge, about any portion of man or universe, can be regarded as having organic integrity which fails to integrate its relations with the whole, and other parts of the whole, of knowledge.
3. A comprehensive theory of disease which reduced all aetiology to a material, organic basis in which the causative factor was considered to be ultimately a structural break-down (on a molecular or cellular level) or a lesion (on the tissue level). The applicability of this theory to all mental disorders (as well as to all physical disorders) is unproven.