Date of Award

Spring 1984

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy and Leadership

First Advisor

Nordberg, Robert B.

Second Advisor

Topetzes, Nick J.

Third Advisor

Crepeau, Margaret T.


As one studies the various theories of personality in psychology, it becomes obvious that there is a move "toward" and "away" from holism. Holism is understood he,e in the sense that there is an integrating inner nature in human personality. Against the Democritan atomism and Platonic idealism in ancient times, Aristotle moved toward a naturalistic holism. Aristotle's hylomorphic theory propounded that human being is a substantial union of primary matter and form. The form in man is the rational soul. During ·the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas adapted Aristotelian biopsychology and perfected it in the light of the Divine Revelation. We have an integral or complete holism in Thomistic psychology. The Catholic Church prefers Thomistic holism to other explanations of human nature. Descartes initiated a move away from Thomistic holism in modem times. Cartesian dualism and Leibnitz's psychophysical parallelism bifurcated human being into two unrelated, independent systems of mind and body. Empircism [sic], associationism, positivism, and mainline evolutionism favored monistic materialism, reducing human mind to matter. The opposite extreme was the monistic idealism of Kant, Hegel, and others, which influenced German mechanistic psychology. The drift away from Holism may be said to have reached a significant point in the separation of psychology from philosophy in 1879. Psychology as an independent science moved along the "off track" trend for almost three quarters of a century. Sturcturalism [sic], functionalism, Freudianism, and behaviorism played their roles in leading psychology to farther away from Thomistic holism.



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