Reductionism


Reductionism
a number of related, contentious theories that hold, very roughly, that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to (be explained by) simpler or more fundamental things. This is said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings. In short, it is philosophical materialism taken to its logical consequences.
• Ontological reductionism - the idea that everything that exists is made from a small number of basic substances that behave in regular ways. Compare to monism.
• Methodological reductionism - the idea that explanations of things, such as scientific explanations, ought to be continually reduced to the very simplest entities possible (but no simpler). Occam's Razor forms the basis of this type of reductionism.
• Theoretical reductionism - the idea that older theories or explanations are not generally replaced outright by new ones, but that new theories are refinements or reductions of the old theory in greater detail.
• Scientific reductionism - has been used to describe all of the above ideas as they relate to science, but is most often used to describe the idea that all phenomena can be reduced to scientific explanations.
• Linguistic reductionism - the idea that everything can be described in a language with a limited number of core concepts, and combinations of those concepts. (See Basic English and the constructed language Toki Pona).
• Greedy reductionism - this term was coined by Daniel Dennett to condemn those forms of reductionism that try to explain too much with too little.
• Analytical reductionism - as used in "Is Reductionism A Good Approach In Science?" "is the underlying a priori of ontological reductionism".
• Relationalism - a philosophy that holds that space and time are basic entities ontologically on a par with matter and radiation.

Mini philosophy glossary . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • reducţionism — REDUCŢIONÍSM s.n. Modalitate de explicare sau interpretare a unor fenomene, structuri sau valori complexe ale realităţii sau ale cunoaşterii, prin reducerea lor la concepte, structuri, legi sau configuraţii mai simple. ♦ Simplificare excesivă.… …   Dicționar Român

  • reductionism — 1948, in philosophy, from REDUCTION (Cf. reduction) + ISM (Cf. ism). Related: Reductionist …   Etymology dictionary

  • reductionism — [ri duk′shəniz΄əm] n. any method or theory of reducing data, processes, or statements to seeming equivalents that are less complex or developed: usually a disparaging term reductionist n., adj. reductionistic adj …   English World dictionary

  • Reductionism — Descartes held that non human animals could be reductively explained as automata De homine, 1662. Reductionism can mean either (a) an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or… …   Wikipedia

  • reductionism — reductionist, n., adj. reductionistic, adj. /ri duk sheuh niz euhm/, n. 1. the theory that every complex phenomenon, esp. in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation… …   Universalium

  • reductionism — In its most general usage, the term reductionism denotes any intellectual strategy for reducing apparently diverse phenomena to some primary or basic explanatory principle. For example, reductionist forms of materialism as applied to the natural… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • reductionism — (reductivism ) A reductionist holds that the facts or entities apparently needed to make true the statements of some area of discourse are dispensable in favour of some other facts or entities. Reductionism is one solution to the problem of the… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • reductionism — noun Date: 1943 1. explanation of complex life science processes and phenomena in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry; also a theory or doctrine that complete reductionism is possible 2. a procedure or theory that reduces complex data and… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • reductionism — re·duc·tion·ism ri dək shə .niz əm n 1) the attempt to explain all biological processes by the same explanations (as by physical laws) that chemists and physicists use to interpret inanimate matter also the theory that complete reductionism is… …   Medical dictionary

  • reductionism — noun a) an approach to studying complex systems or ideas by reducing them to a set of simpler components b) any of several theories holding that complex systems or ideas can always be reduced to a set of simpler components See Also: reductionist …   Wiktionary


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