The idea that ``the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.'' Holism is credible on the basis of emergence alone, since reductionism and bottom-up descriptions of nature often fail to predict complex higher-level patterns. See also top-down.
The belief that wholes determine the design, function, and health of their parts rather than the other way around.
the philosophical view that no complex entity can be considered to be only the sum of its parts; as a principle of anthropology, the assumption that any given aspect of human life is to be studied with an eye to its relation to other aspects of human life.