[ ri-duhk-shuh-nist ]


  1. based on or explained by an analysis of the simplest or most basic factors of a complex phenomenon:

    A reductionist experiment is essential to isolating the impact of a single variable on the ecosystem as a whole.

  2. 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.


  1. a person who believes that everything can be explained by reducing complex ideas or issues to their simplest component parts:

    To reductionists, all other worldviews are unscientific and sloppy, so they often choose to ignore evidence from observational studies.

Discover More

Other Words From

  • re·duc·tion·is·tic [ri-duhk-sh, uh, -, nis, -tik], adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Discover More

Example Sentences

Such a reductionist approach seems valid in physics, where in principle elementary particles can be assembled into nuclei and atoms, which then form molecules and bigger assemblies of matter and energy up to the whole universe.

To the very contrary, reductionists usually stress that consciousness can be explained by science, exactly because it emerges from the interaction of the many particles that make up a brain.

In contrast to what Marletto writes, reductionists also often emphasize that an explanation in terms of emergent properties should not be dismissed just because it is not fundamental.

It might be reductionist, but the loss could be pinned in part on George having shot 5 of 21 from the field, the fewest field goals he’s made all year while attempting 20 or more.

In doing this work, I have developed a reductionist view of nature.

The short version is that it seems on the one hand zoological and on the other hand reductionist.

Democrats tend to believe that the facts will set them free, and that spinning them is reductionist.

And Gitlin's blanket assumption that being gay means who you 'sleep with' is reductionist bigotry.

The noteworthy difference: In this case, the reductionist rhetoric caricatures fervent supporters rather than staunch critics.

Literate language is a reductionist machine, which we use to look at the world from the perspective of our own experience.





reductionismreduction potential