Reductionism is the idea that complex things can be described in terms of simpler parts; mathematics is the premiere example; all math reduces down to the simplest concepts that can describe immense complexity. Science also attempts to reduce explanations to the smallest possible entities: forces, molecules, cells, and the even more reduced components of those. Computer science is wholly based on Reductionism because of its precise & unambiguous mathematical formalizations: Theory Reductionism, Computability Theory, and Turing Reduction. If you believe that computers will one day be indistinguishable from humans then you have tacitly agreed to Reductionism’s premise. Even behavioral sciences, notorious for fuzzy, unproven logic, could become genuine science if based on Reductionist biology like brain chemistry to explain human emotions.
The Enlightenment was a result of Reductionism, culminating in the concept of personal liberty, where individuals make decisions for themselves without regard to fate or supreme beings. The idea was so revolutionary that many of the philosophers of that age tried to deny it because God, morals, and all the other hand-waving metaphysics still predominated at the time. They also found it difficult to jettison the Aristotelian belief that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Unfortunately, Socialism also relies on a reductionist philosophy of "most good to the most people,” and egalitarianism too: “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” Once a philosophy is grounded in Reductionism, if the fundamental premise can be supported, so can everything else.
Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash
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