sum of its parts

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sum of its parts (plural sums of their parts)

  1. A concept in holism. Related to the idea that the total effectiveness of a group of things each interacting with one another is different or greater than their effectiveness when acting in isolation from one another.
    Together, the ant colony was greater than the sum of its parts.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Aristotle, The Metaphysics:
      The whole is different from the sum of its parts
See also[edit]