Archive for July 15th, 2014

July 15, 2014

Antireductionism

reductionism

holism

Antireductionism [an-tee-ri-duhk-shuh-niz-uhm] is a reaction against reductionism (the idea that a system can be totally determined by understanding its components), which instead advocates holism (sometimes called ‘whole to parts,’ in which a contextual overview precedes analysis of constituent parts).

Although ‘breaking complex phenomena into parts, is a key method in science,’ there are those complex phenomena (e.g. in psychology, sociology, ecology) where some resistance to or rebellion against this approach arises, primarily due to the perceived shortcomings of the reductionist approach. Holism is touted as an effective antidote against reductionism, psychiatric hubris, and scientism, a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method. Arguments against reductionism therefore implicitly carry a critique of the scientific method itself, which engenders suspicion among scientists.

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