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Philosophical position that systems should be analyzed as wholes, not just as collections of parts
Holism (from Greek?holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. The term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts in his 1926 book Holism and Evolution.
The exact meaning of "holism" depends on context. Smuts originally used "holism" to refer to the tendency in nature to produce wholes from the ordered grouping of unit structures. However, in common usage, "holism" usually refers to the idea that a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this sense, "holism" may also be spelled "wholism" (although the two are not etymologically related), and it may be contrasted with reductionism or atomism.