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Holistic and Reductionist views



Concept that system is greater than the sum of its parts, see the Bicycle and Central Heating systems for examples.

Trying to identify all connections to systems environment, view is limited to that environment.

By looking beyond the holistic or systemic view, we would be considering the ecological view recognising “the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies, we are all embedded in, and depend upon the cyclical processes of nature” Capra (1996 p6).

Extending the holistic viewpoint would bring us into the field of whole system design.


Opposite to holistic. Reduce systems into their component parts.

Approach applied in western scientific thinking as well as software and systems development.

Makes process more manageable but can result in failure in seeing the big picture.

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  1. Holistic/Reductionist | Adventures in DBA Land

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