What is a holotes and its parts?

Alexander asked:

What is a holotes and its parts?

Answer by Tony Fahey

An answer to this question can be adequately found by anyone familiar with research engine Google. However, given that this question has been put to the panel of Ask a Philosopher, and that it is a relevant philosophical question, please find below, a brief synopsis of the term that I have put together from the information available from sources too numerous to acknowledge individually.

The term ‘holotes’, first found in the Theology of Orpheus, but used extensively by Aristotle in his Metaphysics, derives from the Greek word ‘holos’ meaning whole. Holotes is a word used to describe any entity, living or dead, animate or inanimate, that is made up of dissimilar parts which when put together is altogether different in form and function from all or any of the parts from which it is constructed. The human brain, for instance, is a holotes the component parts of which may be said to consist of matter, energy and mind (thought), and whose function is to incessantly attempt to explain phenomena accordingly (similarly), that is, according to its own existence, to itself and to its complete satisfaction.

Thus, any form of existence is a holotes (plural: holoteses). For example, a stone, an animal (human or non-human), a celestial body are all holoteses. In turn, these ‘whole’ entities can be, at the same time, component parts of a larger or hyper holotes.

In short, holotes is a term used to denote the whole, completeness, integrality, the entity and its state of being complete, either by nature or by action of man, by including/putting together all necessary parts to this end.

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