Political organicism holds that the polis is an organism and individuals are
organically dependent on the polis. This implies that individual happiness is defined by
one’s contribution to the polis’ good. Individualism holds that the polis is reducible to
individuals. The polis’ good is nothing but the totality of individual happiness, which is
not reducible to persons’ functions within a polis. I argue, by contrast, for weak
organicism, which includes the view that the polis is a group of functionally integrated
parts whose good is organic unity. Weak organicism also includes a Platonic account of
the mereological relations of the polis which has the implication that individuals as such
are not structurally dependent on the whole polis (whereas individuals qua citizens, i.e.,
individuals instantiating a sortal part or class, are structurally dependent). These relations
make conceptual space for the possibility that the happiness of individuals as such is nonreductive,
which is expressly accepted by Plato but which is closed off under political