You are here:

Philosophy/whole/sum

Advertisement


Question
hello!

what does it mean the whole is greater then the sum of its parts?  if we put together yellow and red dots together it creates the image of orange. but is orange really a new color? it is the combination of two colors, yellow and red, just a different word!

1 plus 1 = 2 , the whole equals the sum.

is it the process of addition, not just the parts itself that creates a whole greater then the sum? for example the biological process of a living person?

can you give me an example where the whole is greater then the sum of its parts?

thanks .,

Answer
Henry,

The sum can do things that the parts cannot.  A gear and a frame, some pedals and two wheels cannot move you down the street unless they are arranged in the fashion of a bicycle.

Moreover, you are a physical entity, matter, shaped by form.  The matter cannot think, and cannot do anything freely, but your form makes the matter more than it could be, and yet the form cannot exist without the matter.  

Does that help?

-J.M.J.West

Philosophy

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


J.M.J. West

Expertise

I am versed in formal logic and the predicate calculus; Modern Philosophy, Anglo-American Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, And Christian/Catholic Philosophy. I can answer questions on - but not limited to - The Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, The Stoics, the Early Church Era, St. Justin Martyr, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Ockham, Moore, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Russell, G. E. Moore, Quine, Rorty, Plantinga, etc. I also have experience with Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology and other areas.

Experience

I have a BA in Philosophy and History, and am continuing my education in both areas while discerning grad school.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors Degrees in Philosophy and History, (political science emphasis)

Awards and Honors
Cum laude, 1st Annual Harold Parker Award for Excellence in History, Benedictine College.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.