• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Reductionism

Definition

Reductionism means that complex principles can be reduced to simpler or more fundamental principles. Social psychologists often oppose reductionism and emphasize instead the social context that surrounds the individual. There are two basic types of reductionism: psychological and methodological.

Psychological Reductionism

One can often identify reductionism with the mindbody problem, which is the question about the relationship between mental and physiological processes. Psychological reductionism is the idea that one can completely explain the human psyche by breaking it down into several general principles. Social reductionism explains social events in terms of the qualities of the individuals who are involved. For example, a social reductionist would explain the aggression of a football crowd by saying that it is made up of aggressive individuals, whereas another explanation might be ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles