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A group of German psychologists wanted to know how the mind organized sensations into perceptions. The individual organizes a cluster of sensations into a gestalt or "whole".

They were fond of saying that in perception, "the whole may exceed the sum of its parts." (sodium = corrosive metal, chlorine = poisonous gas; sodium + chlorine = table salt).

Aristotle did not originate that phase. It is not found in any of his writings in Greek or in modern English translations.

Q: Who originated the phrase The whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

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Close. "The whole is more than the sum of its parts."

gestalt

1. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Aristotle, Metaphysica2. Max Wertheimer Gestalt theory (1920s)3. SYNERGETICS: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking by R. Buckminster Fuller in collaboration with E. J. Applewhite; First Published by Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. 1975, 1979would appreciate knowing of any other attributions!Additional attribution -- Kurt Koffka: "It has been said: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. It is more correct to say that the whole is something else than the sum of its parts, because summing up is a meaningless procedure, whereas the whole-part relationship is meaningful." (Kurt Koffka, 1935: New York: Harcourt-Brace. p 176) [emphasis added]On that view, "more than" does not mean that the whole is "greater" than the sum of its parts but that it is more than merely the sum of its parts.The remarks of an unidentified poster on a different forum make this point: "One frequently finds Gestalt theory characterized by the notion that a Gestalt or whole is more than the sum of its parts. But in fact Gestalt theory did not make such a claim. Rather, Gestalt theory maintains, there are experienced objects and relationships that are fundamentally different frommere collections of sensations, parts, or pieces, or 'and-sums', as Max Wertheimer called them. So what Gestalt theory actually says about this relationship is that a Gestalt is a whole which is different from the sum of its parts."In fact there is no place in Aristotle's Metaphysics where the phrase"the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"or anything similar can be found!*****In Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the following quote is attributed to Edward Bulwer Lytton (1805-1873) in: Caxtonia - Differences Between the Urban and Rural Temperment"If the whole be greater than a part, a whole man must be greater than that part of him which is found in a book."

Synergy, possibly.

It is a saying to describe synergy. Mathematically, though, the whole is equal to the sum of the parts - not more nor less.

Related questions

1.4 is greater because it has 1 whole and 4 parts of a whole number while 0.95 has no whole numers but 95 parts of a whole number.

The phrase "the whole box and dice" is believed to have originated in Australia, where "box and dice" refers to a complete set of tools or equipment for a particular task. The phrase is used to convey the idea of everything being included or all aspects being covered.

Close. "The whole is more than the sum of its parts."

synergy.

gestalt

1. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Aristotle, Metaphysica2. Max Wertheimer Gestalt theory (1920s)3. SYNERGETICS: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking by R. Buckminster Fuller in collaboration with E. J. Applewhite; First Published by Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. 1975, 1979would appreciate knowing of any other attributions!Additional attribution -- Kurt Koffka: "It has been said: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. It is more correct to say that the whole is something else than the sum of its parts, because summing up is a meaningless procedure, whereas the whole-part relationship is meaningful." (Kurt Koffka, 1935: New York: Harcourt-Brace. p 176) [emphasis added]On that view, "more than" does not mean that the whole is "greater" than the sum of its parts but that it is more than merely the sum of its parts.The remarks of an unidentified poster on a different forum make this point: "One frequently finds Gestalt theory characterized by the notion that a Gestalt or whole is more than the sum of its parts. But in fact Gestalt theory did not make such a claim. Rather, Gestalt theory maintains, there are experienced objects and relationships that are fundamentally different frommere collections of sensations, parts, or pieces, or 'and-sums', as Max Wertheimer called them. So what Gestalt theory actually says about this relationship is that a Gestalt is a whole which is different from the sum of its parts."In fact there is no place in Aristotle's Metaphysics where the phrase"the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"or anything similar can be found!*****In Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the following quote is attributed to Edward Bulwer Lytton (1805-1873) in: Caxtonia - Differences Between the Urban and Rural Temperment"If the whole be greater than a part, a whole man must be greater than that part of him which is found in a book."

Synergy, possibly.

It is a saying to describe synergy. Mathematically, though, the whole is equal to the sum of the parts - not more nor less.

structuralist.

a branch of psychology believing that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts", studies perceptions and against dividing into discrete parts.

Often times the saying "the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts" is used to describe when it is believed that something has more value if it's separated into it's parts and sold separately than the whole thing. For example, sometimes large companies are believed to be worth more if they sold each division of the company separately rather than selling the whole company.

It's from Gestalt psychology which is based on the premise that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To my knowledge it comes from the new science of systems, General Systems Theory and infers that one cannot know the whole through the traditional science of reductionism, taking it apart, studying the parts and putting them back together again, thinking then you know the whole. The reason for this is one can only understand the parts in interaction, or as they term it dynamic interaction, for there seems always an emergent quality or qualities that arise from this dynamic interaction of the parts, which could never have been predicted by the study of the parts in isolation. Part to part, part to the whole and the whole to each of its parts. We might say we know the whole, when we know a working whole.