Holism: The Polarized Spectrum

Grazer Philosophische Studien 46:231-282 (1993)
Alberto Peruzzi
Università degli Studi di Firenze
The paper deals with three sources of holistic arguments: confirmation of scientific theories, translation between languages, and the relationships of meaning with belief. Certain difficulties of each of the involved versions of holism are pointed out: such difficulties concern the lack of evidence in support of holistic theses, as well as the presence of slippery slope arguments, and finally inconsistencies, in holism. We argue that the dualism of atomism and holism is just a polarization of a much richer spectrum of cohesiveness levels, and that their consideration is needed in order to provide explanatory power to naturalistic epistemology. In the end, the features of a "local" alternative to holism are sketched, taking into account the role of gestaltic schemata in making stable reference possible.
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DOI gps19934611
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