A critical analysis of J.C. Smuts’ theory of holism

Jörgenfelt, Chris and Partington, Hazel orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3566-7035 (2019) A critical analysis of J.C. Smuts’ theory of holism. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 31 . p. 100980. ISSN 1876-3820

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manuscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2019.100980


Due to the lack of a clear definition, the word holism has become a vague and inexplicit concept open for uncertain interpretations. In view of the increasing interest in holistic medicine and holistic healthcare solutions, as well as the frequent labelling of non-reductive research models as holistic, a more specific definition of holism is essential to enable a structured foundation of the concept.

In order to reach a more explicit definition of the word holism, an integrative literature review methodology was utilised to critically analyse J.C. Smuts original theory of holism as presented in his book ‘Holism and Evolution’.

The results point to a diverted theory with one part presenting an advanced view of the physicality of reality, while the second part lacks a logical foundation.

In line with current biological systems theories and neurological research, a new definition of holism is suggested, taking into consideration the element of evolution through a mainly intrinsic process, with an emphasis on individual abilities of self-maintenance and resilience towards the impact of psychosocial stressors.

Repository Staff Only: item control page