Reductionism and Holism in the History of Aging and Longevity Research: Does the Whole Have Parts? Part 2. The Upwelling of Holism

I. Stambler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract: The opposition between reductionism and holism can be seen as an overarching theme in the history of aging, longevity and rejuvenation research. As a rule, the initial fascination with reductionist rejuvenation and life extension attempts, striving to tweak and rearrange parts of the human “machine,” in time, is superseded with more holistic perceptions of health maintenance in old age, emphasizing hygienic regulation of behavior and the revitalizing power of the mind. The initial high hopes for dramatic reductionist rejuvenation are often succeeded by more skeptical and cautious visions, yet the optimism may return later on. The cycle of hopefulness will be exemplified by the works of some of the prominent French and German-speaking researchers of aging, in the first half of the 20th century. The present work (the second part in a sequence of two) will focus on the recoil process from reductionist toward holistic conceptual preferences, in this time and area. Several open philosophical and practical questions will be posed with reference to the opposition between reductionism and holism in the history of aging research and anti-aging practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Gerontology
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2023. ISSN 2079-0570, Advances in Gerontology, 2023, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 45–53. Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2023. ISSN 2079-0570, Advances in Gerontology, 2024. Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2024.

Keywords

  • aging
  • history of gerontology
  • holism
  • life extension
  • longevity
  • reductionism
  • rejuvenation
  • therapeutic activism
  • traditionalism

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