A holon (Greek: ὅλον, holon neuter form of ὅλος, holos "whole") is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was used by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine (1967, p. 48) and the phrase to hólon is a Greek word preceding the Latin analogue universum, in the sense of totality, a whole.[1]

Koestler was influenced by two observations in proposing the notion of the holon. The first observation was influenced by Herbert Simon's parable of the two watchmakers—in which Simon concludes that complex systems evolve from simple systems much more rapidly when there are stable intermediate forms present in the evolutionary process than if they are not present.[2]

The second observation was made by Koestler himself in his analysis of hierarchies and stable intermediate forms in non-living matter (atomic and molecular structure), living organisms, and social organizations. He concluded that, although it is easy to identify sub-wholes or parts, wholes and parts in an absolute sense do not exist anywhere. Koestler proposed the word holon to describe the hybrid nature of sub-wholes and parts within in vivo systems. From this perspective, holons exist simultaneously as self-contained wholes in relation to their sub-ordinate parts, and as dependent parts when considered from the inverse direction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holon_(philosophy)

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