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1. The concept that society or the universe is analogous to a biological organism, as in development or organization.
2. The doctrine that the total organization of an organism, rather than the functioning of individual organs, is the principal or exclusive determinant of every life process.
3. The theory that all disease is associated with structural alterations of organs.

or·gan′i·cist n.


1. (Biology) the theory that the functioning of living organisms is determined by the working together of all organs as an integrated system
2. (Medicine) the theory that all symptoms are caused by organic disease
3. (Medicine) the theory that each organ of the body has its own peculiar constitution
orˈganicist n, adj
orˌganiˈcistic adj


(ɔrˈgæn əˌsɪz əm)

1. Philos. the view that some systems resemble organisms in having parts that function in relation to the whole to which they belong. Cf. holism.
2. Pathol. the doctrine that all symptoms arise from organic disease.
3. a view of society as an autonomous entity analogous to and following the same developmental pattern as a biological organism.
[1850–55; organic + -ism]
or•gan`i•cis′mal, or•gan`i•cis′tic, adj.
or•gan′i•cist, n.


1. the theory that all symptoms are due to organic disease.
2. the theory that each of the organs of the body has its own special constitution. — organicist, n. — organicistic, adj.
See also: Medical Specialties
the theory that vital activities stem not from any single part of an organism but from its autonomous composition. Cf. holism, mechanism, vitalism.organicist, n.organicistic, adj.
See also: Philosophy
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.organicism - theory that the total organization of an organism rather than the functioning of individual organs is the determinant of life processes
scientific theory - a theory that explains scientific observations; "scientific theories must be falsifiable"
holism, holistic theory - the theory that the parts of any whole cannot exist and cannot be understood except in their relation to the whole; "holism holds that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"; "holistic theory has been applied to ecology and language and mental states"
References in periodicals archive ?
Finally, once we loosen the organic metaphor's applicability by questioning the attachment of organicism to unqualified closure, we can also discover in their texts that romantic organicists reveled in the tension between centripetal and centrifugal forces in the literary work, so that the drive to enclose could assert its power only in the teeth of the agitated forces, never quite subdued, that struggle against being accommodated.
39) Channing's Romantic impulse turned Unitarian theology toward this social organicism.
This essential reciprocity of life, a kind of spiritual organicism, occurs because the realm of pure spirit--the "Over-Soul," "the universal Soul," the "Supreme Mind," depending on which momentary designation Emerson's style prefers--not only exists above but flows continuously through the world of nature, thus making its discrete essences ("space, the air, the river, the leaf" and even those mortal arts that appropriately mix nature with human will) resonate with a spirit unifying the phenomenal world beyond the level of its material appearances.
An emphasis on particulars and an underlying organicism links this group to <IR> EZRA POUND </IR> , but with a difference: they view the poet's ego as another repressive structure, whose will to power over process must be resisted.
not to mention the sordid history of organicism and rejection of dualism" in explicitly racist, fascist twentieth-century movements.
Architects have a long-standing obsession with ceramics--Frank Gehry's fascination with Ken Price's bulbous blobs is only the latest example of a trend that dates back at least to the fluid organicism of Art Nouveau stoneware.
More theoretically nuanced versions of Romantic politics, particularly in the 1980s and 90s, have tended to focus on a political organicism expressed as aesthetic ideology, from Paul de Man's contrast between Kant and Schiller (in: Aesthetic Ideology [1996], 129-62) to Marc Redfield's Phantom Formations: Aesthetic Ideology and the Bildungsroman (1996).
In fourteen chapters, they cover ways of knowing about development, biologically based theories of development, the beginnings of organicism, the child as philosopher, and a wide variety of other related subjects.
David Fairer's Orsanising Poetry complements a sizeable body of scholarship in this vein, including Charles Armstrong's Romantic Organicism: From Idealist Origins to Ambivalent Afterlife (Palgrave, 2003); Idealism without Absolutes: Philosophy and Romantic Culture, edited by Tilottama Rajah and Arkady Plotnitsky (SUNY Albany, 2004); and Life: Organic Form and Romanticism (Yale, 2009) by Denise Gigante, whose turn to life science engages organicism in a fresh way.
Nevertheless, it is evident that throughout history, gardens constituted a materialisation of political and social ideologies (this is the case with organicism, fascism, anarchism and so on), and the loci where a number of political issues 'condensed' (such as genetic modification issues, food policy, capitalist systems, multiculturalism and so on).
The account is based on a dichotomy between literary organicism ('vital' poetics that spring from the creative individual) and classicism ('traditional' poetics in which the poet follows pre-established styles) mounted by Read in Form in Modern Poetry (1932).
McLuhan's approach to this injunction was to study effects: the "assembly line" of segmented knowledge yields under electronic organicism to "galaxy clusters of simultaneous operations" (6).