reductionism

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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 ?
Though the book generally is reductionistic in methodology, at these points Ockham's razor may have dulled.
In the world of metaethics, Railton's reductionistic naturalism is no doubt a highly cogent and reasonable form of naturalism, and perhaps one of the best currently available.
Approximately 400 years since the emergence of reductionism as a scientific model, researchers are acknowledging that many mental health systems, which are organized on strictly rationalistic and reductionistic principles, are in crisis (Wiggins & Schwartz, 1999).
* The implications of using both reductionistic and holistic approaches in acute care practice should be explored more fully.
The book hammers home, repeatedly, the important truth that any secular arrangement is historically contingent and subect to change and "contestation," but the reader quickly concludes that the author is more interested in the fact that contestation is occurring than in understanding why the "contestants" employ language that suggests their commitment to transcendent values and ideals, The fatal irony of the book is that the author is as reductionistic in her approach to religion as are the secular scholars whom she excoriates.
This report, surprisingly in JAMA, takes a less reductionistic perspective by hunting for the effects of diet from a more global perspective.
The problem is that this mirroring all too often weds the development of natural/holistic medicine to the reductionistic way of thinking that drives allopathic medicine and pharmaceutical development.
This leads to reductionistic expectations of reading and writing that manifest themselves in pedagogical approaches and an over-reliance on assessment instruments like standardized tests.
Echo-Hawk's refusal to be captured by either the anthropologist's backward gaze or the art collector's reductionistic prowl for "authentic" Native art has some parallel to Pawnee color theory.
In the physician's world, described as an expert culture, making a decision and moving on is more important than emotional respect; roles are hierarchical with the expert at the lead; time is more condensed ("right away," to a physician, often means today); thought processes are linear and physicians are taught to work through problems using a reductionistic approach and realtime clinical decision-making.
The volume has some reductionistic passages, for example,"Infants and toddlers who experience child abuse and neglect suffer devastating consequences to their development" (pp.
Today, the most obvious rejoinder to this "reductionistic" view isn't found in the Great Books but all the evidence we have around us that human beings have the singular capability quite consciously to resist evolved nature's pitiless, cruel, and impersonal intention for each of them.