Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963909 | Print ISBN: 9781412941631 | Online ISBN: 9781412963909| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Methodological Holism Versus Individualism
This entry speaks to the nature of the individual element. Individualism says that the individual element is an independent entity that has self-contained properties, although of course it draws on resources around it. An example is the popular idea that the individual is responsible for his or her own fate. One's success and failure depend ultimately on how hard one works. Holism says that the individual element is inextricably tied to other individuals. Individuals are interdependent, and they are internally related in the sense that each is imbued with and constituted by the qualities of others. An example is a child in a family. The child's psychology depends utterly on the way he or she is treated. Any intrinsic tendencies are modulated and mediated by experience. From this perspective, the child is not entirely responsible for his or her behavior. Holism regards individuals or elements as reciprocally influencing each other. ...