Definition of reductionist in English:



  • A person who analyses and describes a complex phenomenon in terms of its simple or fundamental constituents.

    ‘a crude reductionist’
    • ‘More conservatively, however, many reductionists reintroduced elements of composition into improvised music.’
    • ‘In life, the impulse toward a simple stripping down to some bare truth is either delusion, hubris, or the reductionist's dust.’
    • ‘The author makes claims for the central importance of the railway in every aspect of life without seeming a crude reductionist.’
    • ‘He attacks the critics of postmodernism by calling them sociological reductionists.’
    • ‘Picasso was a reductionist, interested in arriving at the essential truth of the matter.’
    • ‘Identity theorists are reductionists; and reduction is distinct from elimination.’
    • ‘He is a reductionist who holds that whatever real property one finds in the whole must be found proportionally in the parts.’
    • ‘The question about the validity of the system is embedded in the debate between reductionists and system theorists.’
    • ‘Having sat at the table alongside the immortals, hearing their words while watching their games of footsie, he is a sort of reflexive reductionist.’
    • ‘The reductionists argued for the simplicity of tragedy; their rivals argued for the magnificent expansiveness of epic.’


  • Analysing and describing a complex phenomenon in terms of its simple or fundamental constituents.

    ‘a reductionist approach that leads to stereotyping’
    • ‘They take the reductionist position that the fundamental building blocks of any organization are individuals, not the groups within it.’
    • ‘The extent to which we are free, for example, may have to be revised if we accept reductionist explanations of behaviour.’
    • ‘The advent of specific drugs joined with a more research-based, reductionist brand of medical diagnosis.’
    • ‘The examples bear witness to the beginnings of a reductionist period for the Spanish artist, during which earlier complex works gave way to minimalism.’
    • ‘He warns against reductionist analyses and emphasises that films should be judged by narrative criteria, as entertainment, and as stories.’
    • ‘I do think the way the site evaluates films is a little reductionist.’
    • ‘Where the author lets readers down is in her too often reductionist effort to have the frontier wars be the explanation of the 1692 witchcraft outbreak.’
    • ‘As far as your opinion that a reductionist approach killed the visual arts, I would have to disagree.’
    • ‘It sounds kind of reductionist to sum people up by their musical tastes and how they differ from yours.’
    • ‘Reductionist science is considered bad science with politically oppressive implications.’