Holistic Biology and the Organismic Foundations of Humanistic Psychology

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This article traces the biological foundations essential to humanistic psychology. It presents, as an alternative to the biochemical emphasis in mainstream biology, the long-neglected holistic paradigm that developed out of the vitalist tradition in biology. After a review of the historical course of this alternative stream of scientific thought, this article focuses on Kurt Goldstein's organismic paradigm. Specifically, the distinction between Goldstein's and Maslow's concepts of self-actualization is analyzed, and Goldstein's elevation of the figure-ground dynamic to an ontological status is discussed.

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