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Hol-atomism is a principle of thought which mediates between the atomistic and holistic opposition.

In Klaus Mudersbach’s words “it is a bridge between the two perspectives: if you reconstruct a Holon as a network, in which each holeme stands in relation to all holemes in its neighborhood, then one can see the starting holeme (h.0) as an atom. And the first neighborhood which contains the relations to all other directly attainable holemes as "the first hol-atomistic level". You get the second hol-atomistic level, if you build the neighborhood for each holeme of the 1. neighborhood and put them together as the second neighborhood of the starting holeme (h.0).

With such a construction, you can go on in the network until you have covered the whole network as a maximum neighborhood level. This is the Holon which you can attain from the starting holeme (h.0).

You can also start from the Holon and concentrate on a smaller neighborhood until you attain the final "atom" in its centre. Any level between the maximum level and the minimum level is called "hol-atomistic level".

Reality can be described on such a hol-atomistic level. The level is defined by the step-wise incremental growth as defined above. Which level corresponds to an actual reality section, depends on the differentiation of the concepts described. The same is valid for a discourse situation in which different interlocutors use a concept with different specificity of meaning. In this context the hol-atomistic levels may be valuable to specify the differences.

LIT : Mudersbach 1983a, 1983b, 1994, 1990, 1991.

Translation-related : Benecke (2013), Floros (2003) Gerzymisch (1996, 2008, 2013), Sunwoo (2013)

Advantages and disadvantages of atomistic and holistic descriptions

In atomism : you miss the wood (Holon) for the trees (atoms). It means: there is no final structure which satisfya ‘gestalt’ criterion.

In holism : you miss the trees (atoms) for the wood (Holon). It means: there is no initial structure with which you can start to see a ‘gestalt’.

Atoms offer a flexible tool for different purposes.
A Holon is an adequate tool for exactly one purpose ("tailored to measure").

Atomism emphasizes the starting point (in logic: the premises).
Holism emphasizes the aim (teleological considerations).

" The whole is more than the sum of the parts"- this statement is a little too simple: even an atomistic structure is more than the addition of all the atoms in it: there can be different structures with the same sum of atoms. What is "more" in a holistic structure than in an atomistic structure? In a holistic structure, each part has a unique function in the :whole: and the function of the part is determined by the purpose of the ‘whole’.