Holons and Holarchies

From some page describing Holonic Manufacturing Systems:

Arthur Koestler proposed the word “holon” [after the Greek holos = whole, with the suffix -on = particle or part]. A holon, as Koestler devised the term, is an identifiable part of a system that has a unique identity, yet is made up of sub-ordinate parts and in turn is part of a larger whole.

From Flemming Funch’s essay Holarchies:

Each Holon could be regarded as either a whole or as a part depending on how one looks at it. A Holon will look as a whole to those parts beneath it in the hierarchy, but it will look as a part to the wholes above it. So, a Holarchy is then a whole that is also a structure of parts that are in themselves wholes.

From a page titled “History of ‘Holons’”:

Koestler also establishes the link between holons and [Herbert Simon’s parable of the two watchmakers]. [...] Simon concludes that complex systems will evolve from simple systems more rapidly if there are stable intermediate forms than if there are not [...].

The above was posted to my personal weblog on May 31, 2004. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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