Psychological reductionism is the process of reducing all social activity and behavior to the psychological characteristics of the human actors involved. Such reduction eliminates the possibility of sociology since it denies that there is anything greater than the individual. Society is simply an aggregation of individuals.
David Emile Durkheim argued against this in his study of suicide by arguing, and demonstrating, that even after providing a psychological explanation for individual acts of suicide there was something still to account for: the difference in suicide rates between societies. This he showed was derived from characteristics of the society and could not be explained as dependent on individual psychological characteristics. Psychological reductionism tries to prove that psychological processes are merely a product of biological functions.
Revisited - On the Role of Reduction in Psychology
It is proposed that reductionism, by bridging different theories, rather should be considered as a scientific stance which favours interdisciplinary co-operation. This perspective on reductionism throws a new light on the classical model of reduction, which may capture important aspects of intertheoretic reductions if it is recognized that the bridges between theories do not need to comply completely with the classical conditions. These ideas are illustrated by analysing an example of reductionistic research concerning the psychology and neuropsychology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The Perils of Psychological Reductionism in Walker Percy
The Disorderly Crowd:
From Classical Psychological Reductionism to Socio-Contextual Theory - The Impact on
Public Order Policing Strategies, DAVID WADDINGTON, Sheffield Hallam
University, MIKE KING, University of Central England - Department of Criminal