A Study on Holism as the Basis of All Biological, Behavioural, Humanistic Sciences and the Divine Religions


Keywords:  Life, Holism, Vitalism, Mechanistic Approach, Sciences, Divine Religions


Introduction and  present situation


We can summarize contemporary approaches on life according to the three basic views as followes :


1-mechanistic approach

The definitions of the three approeches are as follow:

The mechanistic approach is  philosophical doctrine that maintains of all events or phenomena ,no matter their complexity, can be ultimately understood in a mechanical

framework. The position is strongly deterministic and opposed to a host of other positions including dualism, idealism, mentalism, and vitalism.


Holism is a general label applied to any philosophical approach that focuses on the whole living organism .The basic axiom of a holistic position is that a complex phenomenon cannot be understood by an analysis of the constituent  parts alone,contrast with elementarism and atomism. Gestalt and Freudian theories are classic

examples of holistic approaches in psychology.

Vitalism is a philosophical point of view which hold that a “vital force” not explicable by mechanical, chemical or physical principle is responsible for life .It is a form of pluralism, involving the vital force in addition to the mind and body of dualism.

I fucused on vitalism untill recent months, when I become engaged with developing this paper. But now I prefer to defend of holism due to the following reasons:   

Although  the theory of vitalism, in  itself is a holistic approach,  some workers believe that it is synonymous to idealism, and it can not  interpret life by itself;so I prefer to integrate vitalism into holism and  defend holism, which can cover vitalism as well. It seems that this trend will become stronger and more defendable in this sense. It also seems that the more striking message of the two principles is the same:” there is a non-chemical agent in bio-organisms ;”I mean “life”which  is in contrast to the deterministic approach of  the mechanistic theory, and it is the core of our study.

I will show some of the contradictions of the mechanistic approach in this paper;  then, the scientific field will be empty towards holism.


We have got two opposing approaches to interpret  life:

1-Bio-organisms have only chemical structure with a special pattern.

2-Molecules only by themselves ,although with any conceivable pattern cannot create bio-organisms, and we have to accept the role of a non-chemical agent in addition to the role of molecules in living creatures.

If we reject one of the two mentioned approaches, the field will be empty for the other.


Our methodology contains the use and follow up of “the cause and effect principle” in some biologic, behavioral and humanistic sciences as examples and some components of the the Divine religions as well.  We are going to find the factor that is responsible for fulfilling biologic and behavioral activities in all bio-organisms, as follows:

We study some of the biologic and behavioral activities in plants, microorganisms, animals and humans, but I do not mention them here because of the shortage of time.


We find motion, sense, lawful and goal directing regular activities in living creatures that have been active from the beginning of life in the world; they are continuing in all bio-organisms all over the world, without any mistake; and they will continue forever according to the Divine religions.  These activities are the source of different biologic and behavioral sciences.  In humans the trend is more complicated, and we are confronted with man’s unique identity that, according to the Divine religions, will be active forever.


As we mentioned before, we can summarize temporary approaches of  life into the three basic views, namely, mechanistic approach on one side and vitalism and holism on the other side. As the existence of  a non-chemical agent in living creature, has been confirmed in the  two disciplines, holism and vitalism,  and the broad spectrum of holism, we can integrate vitalism into holism. So there would be only two approaches to explain  life,  holism and the mechanistic approach. عنوان دیگری که در این مورد مطرح شده است

Physicalism/materialism(humans are composed of one part:a physical body

we can interpret things by neurosciences

our brain can can say thing are good or bad?

All things can interpreted with brain.


Physicalism=mechanistic approaech

Islamic thought:dualism

Reality testing:logic

   Researches show that the characteristics of molecules in bio-organisms are the same as these characteristics in non-living status.  I will show some of the contradictions of mechanisticapproach as follows:

By reviewing some regular, lawful and goal- directing activities in bio-organisms, animals and humans and some psychologic, social and spiritual  trends in humans; one can rewrite the essence of the mechanistic approach as follows:

1-According to the scientific and experimental facts, the chemical elements of

Mendeleef,s periodic law, which are the known chemical agents, are motionless, lacking life, knowledge, power, wisdom and volition; and it is obvious that they have no

ability to grant motion, knowledge, power, wisdom and volition to other things.

2-Chemical elements of Mendeleef ,s periodic law, which are the known chemical agents of the world, although they are motionless by themselves, and are lacking knowledge, power, wisdom, they have granted motility, knowledge, power, wisdom and volition to all bio-organisms including all animals and humans.

By reviewing the two above sentences, one can  find  contradiction In the belief of the mechanistic approach .It is expected that we  convince the followers of  this school of thought to come together to the reasonable strategy of holism, which can clearly interpret life and its multidimensional aspects without any trouble or contradiction.

If our colleagues who are interested in the mechanistic approach, still determined to follow their belief, we expect at least that they clarify   this school cannot interpret life, and it has obvious contradiction in this process. In this case many ambiguities will be removed, and there will be a generated  field of mutual understanding.

We should remember that the existence of a non chemical factor in bio-organisms has been accepted  as an evident axiom through the history of science ;I mean the classification of creatures into animate and inanimate beings.All of us, even followers of the mechanistic approach, use this classification frequently in our prcatices  in different branches of science keeping in mind that life is different from inanimate chemical agents. If we say that the universe is nothing except molecules,then this  classification might be useless..

A very big question which can one arise,is:”although it seems the problem has been solved,why some of our colleagues may still resist?

It seems the answer may relates to the definition of the science.

In our cotemporary accepted definition of science,which has been based on the mechanistic approach,any oservable  thing can be studied in the field of science,

and any thing which is not observable,although we can see its effects,can not be studied in the field of science.

Now  we are studying many aspects of non-visible aspects of humans in the field

of clinical psychology, and they are instruments of our every day practice of psychology and psychiatry; and they all are out of the field of science according to the above definition.

Acording to the Islamic scholars,like Imam Khomeini and Allameh Tabatabaii  the science can cover non-visible subjecs as well as visible subjects;like cognition,wisedom and synonyms facts.They are not convinced with the contemporary definition of science.They suggest it should be modified in-order to cover all facts.

Psyche by itself is a “thing”,but a special thing, which is different with chemical elements.This definition can be applied for the God too.So we can study the both by

this approach to the science.Although we can not have any sense of them both,but we can have good scientific understanding by studying the results of their activities.

In this sense the sciences and religion can and should have mutual collaborations. 

Now that we have been succeeded to throw away this illogic definition, we can

Simply rescue ourselves from its boring complications. So any thing which is

 non-visible, but we can see its effects by sensorial or wisedom data, it can be put into the scientific trend.

 As we can reject one of the two theories, then we can confirm the holism as the basis of all biologic, behavioral, humanistic sciences and the Divine religions as well.




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