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An attempt or tendency to explain a complex set of facts, entities, phenomena, or structures by another, simpler set: "Science requires some degree of reductionism, some picking apart and focusing on one or two variables at a time" (Natalie Angier).

re·duc′tion·ist adj. & n.
re·duc′tion·is′tic adj.


1. the analysis of complex things, data, etc, into less complex constituents
2. often derogatory any theory or method that holds that a complex idea, system, etc, can be completely understood in terms of its simpler parts or components
reˈductionist n, adj
reˌductionˈistic adj


(rɪˈdʌk ʃəˌnɪz əm)

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 during the phenomenon.
2. the practice of oversimplifying a complex idea or issue to the point of minimizing or distorting it.
re•duc′tion•ist, n., adj.
re•duc`tion•is′tic, adj.


The attempt to explain complex phenomena in terms of simple laws or principles.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.reductionism - a theory that all complex systems can be completely understood in terms of their components
theory - a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"
2.reductionism - the analysis of complex things into simpler constituents
analytic thinking, analysis - the abstract separation of a whole into its constituent parts in order to study the parts and their relations


nReduktionismus m
References in periodicals archive ?
To paraphrase experts from another profession, librarians "often approach situations from a perspective that is comprehensive and holistic, rather than reductionistic and deterministic" [2].
A reductionistic behaviourism maintains that human psychology is determined by the hard-wired and conditioned brain, that people are neurologically and biochemically addicted to fixed traits such as greed, an incapacity to think about the future and an inability to delay gratification.
We must resist reductionistic and dismissive attitudes toward technology that confirm nostalgic and unrealistic notions of community," wrote Schmidt, a millennial whose research focuses on the church and Internet and the Catholic imagination of communion.
Like all insights that challenge the established status quo, this monograph is a bold summons to move beyond static, outdated, and reductionistic categories of imagination and theological analysis.
And "the world as it is" gives itself to us already rife with minds, meanings, values, and purposes, none of which can be taken seriously for long by either materialism or a civilization beholden to materialism's atomistic and reductionistic strictures.
But his limitation of value to the rational and contingent satisfaction of basic human needs is reductionistic, and his denial of the global historical norm of seeking the transcendental Ideal is provincial.
Only when music teachers, and mental health and medical care providers fully collaborate as teams by refusing to dichotomize and compartmentalize, refusing to rely on reductionistic diagnoses, and claim ownership for curing pain--both physical and psychological--can we begin to be truly effective healers and support optimum wellness.
They all described frustration with the administrative parts of their jobs, suggesting that as they moved from humanistic client-focused work they grew tired of mechanical, reductionistic tasks.
Dunson refuses the reductionistic tendencies of Bultmann and Kiisemann, and instead sets forth an eightfold psychological typology--or, a psychological taxonomy of individuals in Romans.
Perhaps it's time to coin the term reductionistic fallacy.
The four perspectives are integrated into a broader strategy: In the first two sections, the editors show the philosophical and historical limitations of reductionistic materialism (which is the prevailing perspective for most scientists today) and then present some models in physics that allow for views of mind of nonreductionists.
He argues that the current paradigm of neuroscience is too materialistic, deterministic, and reductionistic in viewing the human brain as a clockwork mechanism and merely physical causes and effects, and does not fully encompass the uniqueness of human beings.