strategy

Focusing on wholeness

Synonyms:
Facilitating coherence
Being a holist
Advocating holism
Providing coherence
Understanding wholes
Adopting a holistic rationality
Claim:
Wholeness is the property of a system in which every part is so related to every other part that a change in a particular part or element causes a change in all the other parts and in the total system. The system is then said to behave as a whole or coherently and shows new structural and functional features, non-existent in its components. These new features result from the interaction of the system components, from their organization and functioning within the system. Moreover, the laws governing the structure's composition are not reducible to cumulative one-by-one association of its elements; they confer on the whole as such over-all properties distinct from the properties of its elements.

Wholeness is the most striking feature of the systems at all levels of organization of living matter. It arises and develops as a result of structural differentiation and functional specialization within the given system.

Holism emphasizes the organic or functional relationships between parts and wholes rather than focusing on the parts alone. The determining factors, especially in living nature, are considered to be irreducible wholes. This is often briefly expressed in the statement: the whole is more or greater than the sum of its parts. Here more does not at all refer to any measurable quantity in the observed systems themselves; it refers solely to the necessity for the observer to supplement the sum of the statements that can be made about the separate parts by any such additional statements as will be needed to describe the collective behaviour of the parts, when in an organized group. In carrying out this upgrading process, he is in effect doing no more than restoring information content that has been lost on the way down in the progressive analysis of the unitary universe into abstracted elements.

The holist proceeds from below, trying to retrieve the lost information content by reconstruction, whilst the reductionist procedure (with which it is contrasted) moves from the top down, gaining precision of information about fragments, but losing information content about the larger orders that are left behind.

Problems:
Incoherence
Subjects:
Maternity, paternity
Naturopathy, holistic medicine
Interdisciplinarity
Values
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies