A complete entity or system whose components or elements remain connected in a specific and globally functional way.
Wholes are no mere unstructurated aggregates, devoid of any functionality. The basic regulating principle of coherent wholes is that every behavior of a part may influence (directly or indirectly) any other part. However, after a time, that can be very long, the global process may reproduce the initial conditions, or at least conditions very similar or equivalent.
In a whole, the components or parts become immerged, which means that some of their specific properties remain hidden, or become altered due to interactions with other components or parts. Good examples are the properties of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water… or of a husband or father acting as an engineer in an enterprise, or vice-versa.
In G.S.T. the word "holon" (whose Greek origin is the same), proposed by J. SMUTS (1925, reprinted 1973), has been recovered by A. KOESTLER (1969) and is now quite incorporated within the systemic vocabulary, not however being uncontrovertibly admitted by all systemists. As the term "Holon" has been sometimes used in a careless way, "whole" is possibly a convenient substitute.
The concept of "whole" is also connected with the "Gestalt" one, basically in relation to our way of observing and perceiving.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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