philosophical view explaining systems in terms of smaller parts

Reductionism is the idea that a system can be totally determined by looking at its parts, and by combining these using rules such as logic. Theories can be reduced to observations, concepts to things, and the laws of nature to the events that cause them.

Descartes held that non-human animals could be reductively explained as automataDe homine, 1662. This image shows a duck.

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