The whole is greater than the sum of its parts...

Can anyone tell me who coined this renowned phrase please?
23:57 Sat 08th Dec 2007
 
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Aristotle

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Aristotle

The quote translates from the greeks as "The complete is more than the sum of its pieces. " of which a variant is "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. "
One source (Etymology.com) states: "... The term "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" originated with the Gestalt School of Psychology.The Gestalt concept was first introduced in contemporary philosophy and psychology by Christian von Ehrenfeis in the late 1800's although the idea has its roots in the theories of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant and Ernst Mach. The Gestalt School theorists (Max Wertheimer Gestalt theory) saw objects as perceived within an environment according to all of their elements taken together as a global constuct. The 'whole form' approach sought to define principles of perception, sseemingly innate mental laws which determined the way in which objects were perceived.
"The sum of the whole is greater than its parts" is the idea behind this Gestalt principle. It's the perception of a composition as a whole. While each of the individual parts have meaning on their own, taken together, the meaning may change. Our perception of the piece is based on our understanding of all the bits and pieces working in unison. Approximately 1920..."
in plain english i think it means that the whole as a unit is better than the individual parts that make up the whole.
think of a football team - 11 good players dont neccessarily make a good team. a good team should beat 11 good individual players who dont work together.
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The meaning of this phrase is pretty similar to that of the word "Synergy"...

Re. Wiki; "Synergy or synergism most often refers to the phenomenon of two or more discrete influences or agents acting in common to create an effect which is greater than the sum of the effects each is able to create independently".
It doesn't mean the whole is "better" or "more effective" (as in teamwork being better than individual effort). it means that the meaning of anything is different when we perceive it as a whole than when we just perceive the parts. We can see all the parts of a car and know what they do, but the concept of "car" is quite different from the sum of the meaning of all the individual parts.
It doesn't mean the whole is "better" or "more effective" (as in teamwork being better than individual effort). it means that the meaning of anything is different when we perceive it as a whole than when we just perceive the parts. We can see all the parts of a car and know what they do, but the concept of "car" is quite different from the sum of the meaning of all the individual parts.

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