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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


The attempt to explain complex phenomena in terms of simple laws or principles.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


nReduktionismus m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in periodicals archive ?
Likewise, biological explanations for one human feature or another are not automatically reductionistic, hegemonic, or totalizing.
Second, atomism is reductionistic. A successful atomistic explanation leaves one with the conclusion "that's all there is" and is accordingly favored by those with an ontological "taste for desert landscapes." (6) Ancient atomism has this feature, but it is not an inevitable result of an atomistic strategy.
Ray Griffith's book offers solutions, most of which are unique to a vitalistic, comprehensive, whole person, health-centric approach versus a reductionistic symptom-treating one.
As mentioned earlier, the term "coincidence" is often used to support a reductionistic or physicalistic worldview.
Western medicine is infused with structuralist and reductionistic philosophies that shape the traditional conceptualization of health as the absence of organic or physical pathology.
Reductionistic thinking is ubiquitous in health care.
"This represents a misrepresentation of the richness of what Advent means to the Christian church, and relies on stereotypes and caricatures of 'male thinking' that are, at best, reductionistic, partial and often incorrect."
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.
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.