Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Holism: Holism is the assumption that the elements or the subject domain of a theory are accessible only with simultaneous availability of all elements or objects of this domain. It is also assumed that a change to an element does not exclude changes to all other elements at least. The statement "everything is connected with everything" is however a wrong characterization of the holism, since it is logically erroneous.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Michael Esfeld on Holism - Dictionary of Arguments

I 16 ~
Holism/Esfeld: e.g. social community: a social community is more than the dependence of the thinking of others. Social: the social is not rigidly dependent: members die, new members come. A social role as a business man only is a part of the community. Generic: any other, but not a certain thing must exist. Not holistic: purely functional characterized systems are not holistic: e.g. traffic lights exist and function also without traffic and vice versa.
I 29
Holism/characteristics/Esfeld: holism is not "this individual", not a disjoint (e.g. "round or angular"). It could be intrinsic or relational (more than causal). It is not correct to say: "the property to be a system (holistic system)". An Arrangement (that is causal itself) is not enough, but an interaction. Relational: there must be at least one thing with which it has no common parts. Also, to be alone is a relational property/Lewis: holistic properties form family. They do not have to be the same for every part of the system: e.g. heart/kidney. Holistic properties are relational (the arrangement is already assumed). They do not have to be intrinsic (e.g. natural numbers).
I 28
Causation: causation is not enough, even properties which are the cause of things, can be intrinsic. They are ontological and not description dependent. Parts: e.g. bones are not holistic, but humans for social system are. Bones do not make up a part for a community. The holistic part is not transitive - the part is more narrow than in mereology.
I 36
Arrangement property: an arrangement property is not enough: to be a heart is an arrangement property, e.g. a heart which the butcher sells, otherwise it is no heart anymore. Therefore the functional definition is not a holistic criterion. A holistic property cannot be detected in a description which can have the parts in isolation.
I 42
Type A bottom-up: every constituent must have a few holistic properties: every belief is, as far as it has conceptual content dependent on other beliefs (e.g. social holism). Type B: holistic properties primarily belong to the system as a whole: e.g. conceptual content, confirmation, justification (e.g. quantum holism). Semantic holism: A or B is possible.
I 50
Confirmation holism leads to semantic holism. Two dogmas: two dogmas represent both.
I 366 ~
Holism/Esfeld: can we merge holism of physics and holism of philosophy of the mind? No, we can only follow them in one area and exclude the other. Belief-holism: can only take into account the conceptual area (quasi everyday language), not the quantum mechanical. Quantum holism is fixed on epistemic self-sufficiency and representationalism: epistemic self-sufficiency equals internalism: belief states are independent of physical nature (intentional states can be the same in other environments)
I 383
Holism/tradition: in the tradition of holism stand Parmenides, Spinoza and Bradley. Esfeld: Esfeld retains a revised Cartesianism.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Es I
M. Esfeld
Holismus Frankfurt/M 2002

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