Reductionism vs holism
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Reductionism vs holism

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and a bit of verstehen

and a bit of verstehen

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Reductionism vs holism Reductionism vs holism Presentation Transcript

  • Reductionism vs. Holism
  • Does a group have a “character” that isdifferent from the individuals that make it up? A football team may consist of elevengreat players and yet do badly in a league. How?
  • Reductionismreduces complex phenomena to the interactions of their parts
  • Reductionism reduces complex phenomena to the interactions of their partsa complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts
  • Reductionism reduces complex phenomena to the interactions of their partsa complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts Newtonian, linear
  • thermodynamics=mechanics heat=motion of molecules
  • consider applying reductionism to the Human Sciences Economics
  • consider applying reductionism to the Human Sciences Economics Psychology
  • consider applying reductionism to the Human Sciences Economics Psychology Biology
  • consider applying reductionism to the Human Sciences Economics Psychology Biology Physics
  • reductive fallacies
  • the whole is“more than” the sum of its parts
  • the whole is“more than” the sum of its parts organization
  • What aboutthe human body?
  • Is the sum of the parts equal to the whole?Or does the “whole” have characteristics that are “more than” the sum?
  • Is the sum of the parts equal to the whole?Or does the “whole” have characteristics that are “more than” the sum?
  • a few words from John Cleese: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo
  • Holism The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.The whole contains properties that cannot be discovered through the analysis of parts
  • “HOLISM is … simply the belief that ‘the whole isgreater than the sum of its parts’. No one in hisright mind could reject holism.“REDUCTIONISM is … simply the belief that ‘awhole can be understood completely if youunderstand its parts, and the nature of their “sum”’.No one in her left brain could rejectreductionism.” (Hofstadter 1980: 312)
  • how do we resolve this?
  • how do we resolve this?
  • Verstehen Position“the main aim of the human sciences is to understand themeaning of various social practices from the inside as they are understood by the subjects themselves.”
  • meanings and purposes vs. causes and effects
  • meanings and purposes vs. causes and effectsdescribe and understand vs. explain and predict
  • describe and understand vs. explain and predict
  • meaning vs. mechanism
  • please read “Predictions” p.279-280
  • and complete the chart