2023-11-05Updated on 2023-11-12

Holistic Turn#

A process in a community in which there is an effort to reorient knowledge towards some idea of the whole after prolonged consideration of parts.

This can manifest in transitions such as:

  • Material → Form
  • Analysis → Synthesis
  • Composition → Structure
  • Data → Model
  • Causality → Appearances
  • Mechanism → Intuition
  • Scholarship → Design

Holism is usually conceived in opposition to reductionism. However, holism can itself become reductionistic.

A holism that urges us to focus on intuition and appearances, over mechanism and causality, is merely a reduction to the superficial. It is important to not consider reductionism in strict spatial terms by — for example — thinking of it as always concerning a move from big to small. More broadly, it is a narrowing of focus on some set of concerns at the expense of others.

Systemism is the unification of reductionism and holism, which is often characteristic of effective investigations.


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