What is holism and reductionism?

In psychology, holism is an approach to understanding the human mind and behavior that focuses on looking at things as a whole. It is often contrasted with reductionism, which instead tries to break things down into their smallest parts.

What is emergence theory?

In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own, properties or behaviors which emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole.

What are the two types of holism?

There are two main types, Epistemological Holism (or Confirmation Holism) and Semantic Holism which are discussed in more detail below.

How is reductionism and holism similar?

Reductionism holds that an entity is a function of its parts; holism holds that wholes have properties not reducible to parts. Reductionists assert that the essence of the entity is a function of its parts, and thus knowledge of the parts is adequate for knowledge of the whole.

What is an example of holism?

The definition of holism is a theory suggesting that parts can only be understood in relation to the whole. An example of holism is a theory that believes you cannot break things down to study them, but instead that everything has to be understood in relation to the whole or the sum of its parts.

What is holism in philosophy explain?

holism, In the philosophy of the social sciences, the view that denies that all large-scale social events and conditions are ultimately explicable in terms of the individuals who participated in, enjoyed, or suffered them.

What is an example of reductionism?

Thus, the ideas that physical bodies are collections of atoms or that a given mental state (e.g., one person’s belief that snow is white) is identical to a particular physical state (the firing of certain neurons in that person’s brain) are examples of reductionism.

What’s the definition of reductionist?

Definition of reductionist

simplistic to the point of minimizing, obscuring, or distorting a complex idea, issue, or condition:Both stories describe the same reality, but your reductionist version fails to capture the full truth. noun.

What is reductionism thinking?

Systems thinking is best described as a synthesis between reductionism and emergence. Reductionism is the practice of analyzing and describing complex phenomenon on a simpler or more fundamental level while emergence is looking at the same phenomenon and describing it in the context of the whole.

Why is reductionism a weakness?

Reductionist as it tries to explain complex behaviour with one influence. It doesn’t consider how other factors interact together in influencing behaviour which reduces the validity of the approach/debate.

What makes systems thinking different from reductionist thinking?

In contrast to the reductionist approach, systems thinking is a holistic perspective— claiming that the whole is not the sum of its parts but rather is a product of the parts’ interactions.

Is analytical thinking reductionist?

Analytic-Reductionist Thought. Instead of defining elements in terms of a ‘higher’ level, this pattern of thought reduces the phenomenon to a more basic level. Processes, elements, problems, etc. are looked at and analyzed in terms of the ‘lower’ levels and parts from which they are constructed.

Is the humanistic approach reductionist?

Humanistic, or third force psychologists, feel that holism is the only valid approach to the complete understanding of mind and behavior. They reject reductionism in all its forms. Their starting point is the self (our sense of personal identity) which they consider as a functioning whole.

Is psychodynamic approach reductionist?

Holism vs Reductionism

The psychodynamic approach is determinist as it rejects the idea of free will. A person’s behavior is determined by their unconscious motives which are shaped by their biological drives and their early experiences.

Is the cognitive approach reductionist or holistic?


The cognitive approach focuses on studying how internal mental processes can be carefully and objectively studied. This approach is reductionist because it focuses only on cognitions and neglects other factors that might contribute to behavior.

What are the 3 main cognitive theories?

There are three important cognitive theories. The three cognitive theories are Piaget’s developmental theory, Lev Vygotsky’s social cultural cognitive theory, and the information process theory. Piaget believed that children go through four stages of cognitive development in order to be able to understand the world.

What is the opposite of reductionism?

The opposite of reductionism is ‘holism‘. This approach is traced back to a statement made by Aristotle in his ‘Metaphysics’:2 ‘The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

What is reductionism in sociology?

Sociological reductionism can be defined as the arbi- trary reduction of all social phenomena to the level of structure. It assigns ontologi- cal preference to structure and maintains, by definition, that any nonstructural phe- nomenon is not social.

What are the three types of reductionism?

Reduction (reductionism) encompasses several, related philosophical themes. At least three types can be distinguished: ontological, methodological, and epistemic (Sarkar 1992; cf. Nagel 1998).

What is reductionism in culture?

Reductionistic thinking, which is the philosophy of contracting complex systems in science and society to smaller or single causalities, is dangerous. With this contraction comes an indifference towards uncovering and appreciating complex explanations and the variability contributed by the context.

What is epistemological reductionism?

Epistemological Reductionism is the theory that a complex system can be explained by reduction to its fundamental parts. It holds that all phenomena can be completely understood in terms of the behavior of micro-physical entities.

What is the emergent theory of consciousness?

In philosophy, emergentism is the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is a new outcome of some other properties of the system and their interaction, while it is itself different from them.

What are qualia philosophy?

qualia include the ways it feels to see, hear and smell, the way it feels to have a pain; more generally, what it’s like to have mental states. Qualia are experiential properties of sensations, feelings, perceptions and, in my view, thoughts and desires as well.

What is ontological reductionism worldview?

Ontological reductionism is the belief that reality is composed of a minimum number of kinds of entities or substances. This claim is usually metaphysical, and is most commonly a form of monism, in effect claiming that all objects, properties, and events are reducible to a single substance.

Was Aristotle a reductionist?

Aristotle is an “anti-reductionist.” He believes that the behavior of living things cannot be fully explained in terms of their material constituents; i.e., it cannot be reduced to what would today fall under the sciences of physics and chemistry.

Is science a reductionist?

Scientific reductionism is not a viable theory in modern science, because the processes governing the universe are so complex and intertwined that they can never be understood fully. Despite this, reductionist thinking does have some uses, and allows complex processes to be teased apart and understood.

Is dualism a theory?

In the philosophy of mind, dualism is the theory that the mental and the physical – or mind and body or mind and brain – are, in some sense, radically different kinds of thing.

What are the five kinds of dualism?

Terms in this set (5)

  • Substance Dualism. – Separation of mind and body. – Physical matter a different substance than thinking matter. …
  • Value Dualism. – Mind over body. – Body source of evil. …
  • Behavior Dualism. – Type of value dualism. …
  • Language Dualism. – Type of value dualism. …
  • Knowledge Dualism. Knowing occurs in two ways.

Is Plato a dualist?

Plato’s writings are known as his Dialogues. He is essentially a dualist. He draws a line of demarcation between the spirit and the flesh, between the body and the mind, the Idea and the particular object. Such dualism lends itself easily to the popular mind.