Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Holism in Health Care: Patient as Person

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Simon WoodsORCiD


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


This chapter explores the place of holism within the philosophy of medicine. It is organized into three sections which explore three related aspects of holism in the context of medicine and health care. The chapter begins with an introduction which places the holism debate within the wider history of ideas and the evolution of medicine as a scientifically grounded practice. An early consideration in section one is whether holism can be positively defined or whether it can be discussed only in terms of its relationship with reductionism – the holism/reductionism dyad. A key question is whether medicine’s reliance upon the natural sciences requires the adoption of a form of reductionism that is incompatible with holism. Developing the analysis of reductionism the question of the compatibility of reductionism with holism is explored further. Section two deals with the question of whether holism is actually antireductionist. Here several strands are explored in order to show that the holism/reductionism dyad is not merely a scientific, philosophical debate but in addition has important normative implications for understanding the very raison d’être of medicine. Section three continues the analysis of the normative issues by exploring the holism/reductionism dyad in the context of medical ethics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Woods S

Editor(s): Schramme, Thomas; Edwards, Steven

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine

Year: 2017

Pages: 411-427

Print publication date: 17/01/2017

Online publication date: 07/10/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: Springer Netherlands

Place Published: Dordecht, Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8706-2_21-1

Notes: 9789401786881 ebook ISBN, 9789401786874 Hardback ISBN

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789401787062