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Reductionism in Psychological Theory

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One of the biggest problems in psychology’s quest to understand the human being has been the tendency to fall back on reductionism as a means of explaining why human beings are like they are. Reductionism is a way of going about explanation. When we talk of reductionist theories, we are referring to a set of ideas which have one distinguishing characteristic: the belief that things can be explained simply by reducing them down to their constituent parts. In other words, reductionist arguments state that things can be understood as being nothing but the sum of their components.

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© 1995 Nicky Hayes

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Hayes, N. (1995). Reductionism in Psychological Theory. In: Psychology in Perspective. Palgrave, London.

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