Antireductionism is a reaction against reductionism, which instead advocates holism. [ [ "Reductionism, Antireductionism, and Supervenience"] ] Although "breaking complex phenomena into parts, is a key method in science," [ [ "Reductionism vs. obscurantism"] by Les Lane] 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. When such situations arise, some people search for ideas that supply "an effective antidote against reductionism, scientism, and psychiatric hubris." [Jennifer Radden (Ed.) [ "The Philosophy of Psychiatry: A Companion"] ] This in essence forms the philosophical basis for antireductionism. Such rebellions against reductionism also implicitly carry some critique of the scientific method itself, which engenders suspicion among scientists that antireductionism must inherently be flawed.

Antireductionism often arises in academic fields such as history, economics, anthropology, medicine, and biology as dissatisfaction with attempts to explain complex phenomena through being reduced to simplistic, ill-fitting models, which do not provide much insight about the matter in hand. [ [ "Reductionism and Antireductionism"] by Thomas Nagel] Some objections propose that reductionism might even be more generally a flawed approach.Views needing attribution|date=June 2007 Clearly then, there is a spectrum of positions on this issue even within the above disciplines. Generally speaking, reductionism has only enjoyed limited success in sociology, history and ecology and there is some skepticism in those fields that overtly mathematical and quantitative approaches can yield much useful sense or insight; descriptive approaches appear to be preferred.Views needing attribution|date=June 2007

An example in psychology is the "ontology of events to provide an anti-reductionist answer to the mind/matter debate [and] ...the impossibility of intertranslating the two idioms by means of psychophysical laws blocks any analytically reductive relation between...the mental and the physical." [ [ Essays on Actions and Events] by Donald Davidson]

As Alex Rosenberg and Kaplan point out, "physicalism and antireductionism are the ruling orthodoxy in the philosophy of biology... [yet] both reductionists and antireductionists accept that given our cognitive interests and limitations, non-molecular explanations may not be improved, corrected or grounded in molecular ones." [ [ "How to Reconcile Physicalism and Antireductionism about Biology"] by Alex Rosenberg and D. M. Kaplan]

This is "one of the central problems in the philosophy of updated version of the old mind-body problem: how levels of theories in the behavioral and brain sciences relate to one another. Many contemporary philosophers of mind believe that cognitive-psychological theories are not reducible to neurological theories...most nonreductive physicalists prefer the idea of a one-way dependence of the mental on the physical." [ [ "Psychoneural Reduction The New Wave"] by John Bickle]


ee also

* Alexander Rosenberg
* E.F. Schumacher
* A Guide for the Perplexed
* Antiscience
* Philosophy of Mind
* Nonreductive physicalism
* Evolution

External links

* John Bickle, [ "Psychoneural Reduction: The New Wave"] , Bradford Books, March 1998, ISBN 0-262-02432-2.
* Ingo Brigandt and Alan Love, [ "Reductionism in Biology"] , in: "The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy".
* Donald Davidson, [ "Essays on Actions and Events"] , OUP, 2001, ISBN-10: 0-19-924627-0
* Alex Rosenberg and D. M. Kaplan [ "How to reconcile physicalism and antireductionism about biology"] , "Philosophy of Science", Volume 72.1, January 2005, pp.43-68]
* Manfred Laubichler and Gunter Wagner (2001) [ "How molecular is molecular developmental biology? A reply to Alex Rosenberg's Reductionism redux: computing the embryo"] , "Biology and Philosophy" 16: 53—68
* Bolender, John (1995) [ "Is multiple realizability compatible with antireductionism?"] "The Southern Journal of Philosophy" XXXIII: pp.129-142.

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