reductionism

noun
re·​duc·​tion·​ism | \ri-ˈdək-shə-ˌni-zəm \

Definition of reductionism 

1 : explanation of complex life-science processes and phenomena in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry also : a theory or doctrine that complete reductionism is possible

2 : a procedure or theory that reduces complex data and phenomena to simple terms

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Other Words from reductionism

reductionist \ri-​ˈdək-​sh(ə-​)nist \ noun or adjective
reductionistic \ri-​ˌdək-​shə-​ˈni-​stik \ adjective

Examples of reductionism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Ultimately, the brain-soup technique’s central strength — its reductionism — is also its weakness. Ferris Jabr, New York Times, "To Unlock the Brain’s Mysteries, Purée It," 14 Dec. 2017 Such reductionism has its charms, and bears some resemblance to the truth. Carlos Eire, New York Times, "Slaying the Dragon of the Dark Ages," 18 Dec. 2017 But hyperbolic reductionism of this sort will be offensive to the vast majority of historians. Carlos Eire, New York Times, "Slaying the Dragon of the Dark Ages," 18 Dec. 2017 Scores of scientists and philosophers would (and do) dispute this sort of hyper-materialistic reductionism. Jeff Cimmino, National Review, "University of Chicago Professor: Infanticide Is Morally Acceptable," 19 July 2017 That danger of reductionism is certainly worth bearing in mind when considering how the two recent votes in Europe turned out. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "What Europe Needs: Hope," 6 Dec. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reductionism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reductionism

1925, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of reductionism was in 1925

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More Definitions for reductionism

reductionism

noun
re·​duc·​tion·​ism | \ri-ˈdək-shə-ˌniz-əm \

Medical Definition of reductionism 

1 : the attempt to explain all biological processes by the same explanations (as by physical laws) that chemists and physicists use to interpret inanimate matter also : the theory that complete reductionism is possible

2 : a procedure or theory that reduces complex data or phenomena to simple terms

Other Words from reductionism

reductionist \-​sh(ə-​)nəst \ or reductionistic \-​ˌdək-​shə-​ˈnis-​tik \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on reductionism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reductionism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reductionism

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