chapter  6
Seeing the big picture and making knowledge: Holism and constructivism
Pages 21

The writing of the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is relentlessly abstract, but the essentials of his holistic views can be conveyed briefly. In Hegel’s ([1812, 1813, 1816] 1969) view, structures of thought and reality are ultimately identical, and nothing is in the last analysis real except the ‘whole’ envisaged as a complex system.The appearance of apparently separate things is not merely illusory, however. Each has some degree of reality in being an aspect of the whole (the ‘Absolute’). For Hegel, what is real is rational and what is rational is real. But only when the apparent character of facts has been transformed by viewing them as aspects of the whole can they be seen as rational.