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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Describe examples of reductionism in psychology .

There are several generally accepted types or forms of reduction in both science and philosophy:
Ontological reductionism is the idea that everything that exists is made from a small number of basic substances that behave in regular ways (compare to monism). There are two forms of ontological reductionism: token ontological reductionism, and type ontological reductionism. Token ontological reductionism is the idea that every item that exists is a sum item. For perceivable items, it says that every perceivable item is a sum of items at a smaller level of complexity. Type ontological reductionism is the idea that every type of item is a sum (of typically less complex) type(s) of item(s). For perceivable types of item, it says that every perceivable type of item is a sum of types of items at a lower level of complexity. Token ontological reduction of biological things to chemical things is generally accepted. Type ontological reduction of biological things to chemical things is often rejected.
Methodological reductionism is the idea that explanations of things, such as scientific explanations, ought to be continually reduced to the very simplest entities possible (but no simpler). Occam's Razor forms the basis of this type of reductionism.

Examples of reductionism in psychology .

Methodological individualism protends sociological inquiry based on individual decisions.
Theoretical reductionism has two definitions. In the first definition it is the idea that the terms of a theory of science A referring to objects at a higher level of complexity than the objects of science B can be replaced by the terms of science B. In the second definition of theoretical reductionism the older theories or explanations are not generally replaced outright by new ones, but new theories are refinements or reductions of the old theory into more efficacious forms with greater detail and explanatory power. The older theories are supposedly absorbed into the newer ones and they can be deductively derived from the latter.
Scientific reductionism has been used to describe all of the above ideas as they relate to science, but is most often used to describe the idea that all phenomena can be reduced by scientific explanations. It is useful to note in addition that there are no explicit theories that reject token ontological reduction of biological items to chemical items, or that reject token ontological reduction of chemical items to physics items. Also by the middle of the 20th century the empirical results made extremely implausible the view that there are fundamental forces activated only by highly complex configurations of subatomic particles.
Linguistic reductionism is the idea that everything can be described in a language with a limited number of core concepts, and combinations of those concepts. (See Basic English and the constructed language Toki Pona).
The term "greedy reductionism" was coined by Daniel Dennett to condemn those forms of reductionism that try to explain too much with too little.
Eliminativism is sometimes regarded as a form of reductionism. Eliminativism is the idea that some objects referred to in a given theory do not exist. Accordingly, the terms of that theory are abandoned or eliminated. Eliminativism is often regarded as a form of reductionism, since the eliminated theory is at some point replaced by a theory referring to the objects that were not eliminated. For example, the theory that some diseases are caused by occupation by a demon has been eliminated. Accordingly it has been reduced by elimination to other theories about the causes of diseases.

Examples of reductionism in psychology .

The denial of reductionist ideas is holism: the idea that things can have properties as a whole that are not explainable from the sum of their parts. The principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle in the Metaphysics: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts". Phenomena such as emergence and work within the field of complex systems theory are also considered to bring forth possible objections to some forms of reductionism. It's worth noticing that they don't object to token ontological reduction of biology to chemistry, nor to token ontological reduction of chemistry to physics. They would only be possible objections to other forms of reduction.
Outside the field of strictly philosophical discourse and outside the fields of biology, chemistry and physics, the best known denial of reductionisms of whatever kind is religious belief, which, in most of its forms, assigns supernatural original causes to phenomena. In this approach, even if a given system operates by strictly reductionistic causes-and-effects, its "true" genesis and placement within larger (and typically unknown) systems is bound up with an intelligence or "consciousness" beyond normal human perception. It is worth asking how religious systems regard token biological reduction of biological items to chemical items and chemical items to physics items.

Describe examples of reductionism in psychology .

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