reductionism

(redirected from Biological reductionism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

reductionism

the doctrine that, either in practice or in principle, the propositions of one science can be explained in terms of the propositions of another, e.g. the reduction of chemistry to physics, or the reduction of sociology to psychology.

The contrasting doctrine is that particular sciences may be irreducible to other sciences. For Durkheim, for example, social reality is an ‘emergent’ reality, a reality sui generis irreducible to other sciences such as psychology. Similarly, those sociologists who emphasize human meanings as the basis of social explanations also see this level of analysis as irreducible. In practice, the relationships between the sciences are complex, with no pattern, or view of the pattern, of these relationships being in the ascendancy. Sometimes the subject matter of one science can be illuminated by analogies with, or reduction to, another; at other times attempted reductions of analogies will be misplaced or misleading. See also HIERARCHY OF THE SCIENCES.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Without a doubt, biological reductionism has considerable appeal.
However, that niche of social sensibility in a psychiatric world dominated by biological reductionism was disrupted by the resonances first of radicalised psychoanalysis in 'anti-psychiatry' and then of 'critical psychiatry' or 'post-psychiatry', under the dominant influence of Michel Foucault (Ingleby, 1980; Miller and Rose, 1986; Parker et al.
Alas, in the past few years such simplistic biological reductionism has tapped a media nerve, with the result that, among many Americans, schlock genetics has become the default explanation for every aspect of human behavior from homosexuality to male promiscuity, from depression to "criminality."
These attempts to scare people about marijuana through animal studies, because actual human experience with the drug is not alarming enough, suggest the pitfalls of the biological reductionism on which medicalization depends.
A more scientific approach to epidemiology gained influence after World War I, and while it supported environmental explanations of differential patterns of disease, it also imparted clinical authority to eugenicist and biological reductionism. Small wonder that black urban dwellers placed little trust in white public health officials and remained committed to their folk health traditions.
I am "anti" the sort of concrete biological reductionism espoused by Dr.
This is not to suggest that the biological reductionism inherent in psychopharmacology (i.e., emphasizing central nervous system anatomy and physiology) will in some way undermine traditional cognitive or behavioral approaches to client care (Figure 1, global or molar perspectives).
The goal of this work is to rearticulate the central aspiration of sociologists, which the author sees as the attempt to "create a world in which humans exercise dominion over nature without exercising dominion over each other." In light of this goal, he considers contemporary sociological discourse and its relationship to socialism and to Darwinism, the influence of biology on the social sciences, and the limitations of biological reductionism in sociology.
Despite the well-intentioned efforts of Crick, Carley, and Hunt to find a solid basis for engaging the theists, they will not be successful unless they can find a better approach than imposing an endless stream of hypothetical constructs and biological reductionism on the events.

Full browser ?