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Thread: the danger of reductionism

  1. #1 the danger of reductionism 
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    reductioninsm is a worldview, currently in vogue, attempt to break a system down to its component parts. then study those component parts and forget the whole system. for example, in modern medical science , people study parts of the body e.g. heart, lungs, liver, kidney etc. but they do not study the system as whole. in reductionism people are specialists, not generalist. there is a danger in this approach.

    it is very much unrealistic approach. in it, you can't predict what will be the impact on the whole system of something you have done on a part. for example you can't say what happen to the body if you do something in kidney or liver because you do not know all the parts and the relation among them. so you in the process of solving a problem will create a new problem.

    another example of danger of reductionism is : industrial revolution may solve your financial problem but it creats a global worming problem since you don't know the entire system and relation between the parts.you can't predict that noxus fums emitted from your factory may damage the ozone layer because you only know the factory and you don't know the nature of air and existance of ozone layer and the relation between air and ozone layer.


    holism on the other hand considers system as a whole. it will not create new problem in the process of solving an existing one. so i think holism is better than reductionism.


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    Creating a car/bicycle/nuclear-reactor rely on reductionism because you can know how each part function and you can predict its outcome. So reductionism is still necessary IMO.

    But holism might be good for social reform/policy-change, where you can apply stuff that "works" (base on observation) which you doesn't really sure how the detail work (eg: like "pragmatic leader"). Which is good. -example of scientific stuff that works but not yet understood is: human conciousness existing from a bunch of simple neurons, religion and human behaviour.

    ---
    Definition of "pragmatic leader": http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-...ealist-leader/


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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Creating a car/bicycle/nuclear-reactor rely on reductionism because you can know how each part function and you can predict its outcome. So reductionism is still necessary IMO.

    But holism might be good for social reform/policy-change, where you can apply stuff that "works" (base on observation) which you doesn't really sure how the detail work (eg: like "pragmatic leader"). Which is good. -example of scientific stuff that works but not yet understood is: human conciousness existing from a bunch of simple neurons, religion and human behaviour.

    ---
    Definition of "pragmatic leader": Are You a Pragmatic or Idealist Leader? - Forbes
    so according to you holism is necessary where an application is made. what about medical science? also when you are going to add or remove any parts of car, bike or nuke, you must know what will be the impact on the entire system. otherwise your problem will never be solved.



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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    reductioninsm is a worldview, currently in vogue, attempt to break a system down to its component parts. then study those component parts and forget the whole system. for example, in modern medical science , people study parts of the body e.g. heart, lungs, liver, kidney etc. but they do not study the system as whole. in reductionism people are specialists, not generalist. there is a danger in this approach.

    it is very much unrealistic approach. in it, you can't predict what will be the impact on the whole system of something you have done on a part. for example you can't say what happen to the body if you do something in kidney or liver because you do not know all the parts and the relation among them. so you in the process of solving a problem will create a new problem.

    another example of danger of reductionism is : industrial revolution may solve your financial problem but it creats a global worming problem since you don't know the entire system and relation between the parts.you can't predict that noxus fums emitted from your factory may damage the ozone layer because you only know the factory and you don't know the nature of air and existance of ozone layer and the relation between air and ozone layer.


    holism on the other hand considers system as a whole. it will not create new problem in the process of solving an existing one. so i think holism is better than reductionism.
    This sounds good in principle but isnt there problems with the approach?
    Dont you have to solve equations of too high degree when the components of the system mutually effect each other? Isnt it, so far, neccessary to simplify things in order to be able to calculate?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    reductioninsm is a worldview, currently in vogue, attempt to break a system down to its component parts. then study those component parts and forget the whole system. for example, in modern medical science , people study parts of the body e.g. heart, lungs, liver, kidney etc. but they do not study the system as whole. in reductionism people are specialists, not generalist. there is a danger in this approach.

    it is very much unrealistic approach. in it, you can't predict what will be the impact on the whole system of something you have done on a part. for example you can't say what happen to the body if you do something in kidney or liver because you do not know all the parts and the relation among them. so you in the process of solving a problem will create a new problem.

    another example of danger of reductionism is : industrial revolution may solve your financial problem but it creats a global worming problem since you don't know the entire system and relation between the parts.you can't predict that noxus fums emitted from your factory may damage the ozone layer because you only know the factory and you don't know the nature of air and existance of ozone layer and the relation between air and ozone layer.


    holism on the other hand considers system as a whole. it will not create new problem in the process of solving an existing one. so i think holism is better than reductionism.
    This sounds good in principle but isnt there problems with the approach?
    Dont you have to solve equations of too high degree when the components of the system mutually effect each other? Isnt it, so far, neccessary to simplify things in order to be able to calculate?
    we first simplyfy the subject then step by step go into complication and at the end we should come to the real nature of subject with all its complication. for example: if we study human body, we should study each organ separately first and then we should study the relation between organs and finally we study both the organs and relation so that we can study the human body as it is.

    under reductionist approach, we just study each organ separately and then we focus on a particular organ and sit there without studying the entire system. such approach is dangerous.



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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    reductioninsm is a worldview, currently in vogue, attempt to break a system down to its component parts. then study those component parts and forget the whole system. for example, in modern medical science , people study parts of the body e.g. heart, lungs, liver, kidney etc. but they do not study the system as whole. in reductionism people are specialists, not generalist. there is a danger in this approach.

    it is very much unrealistic approach. in it, you can't predict what will be the impact on the whole system of something you have done on a part. for example you can't say what happen to the body if you do something in kidney or liver because you do not know all the parts and the relation among them. so you in the process of solving a problem will create a new problem.

    another example of danger of reductionism is : industrial revolution may solve your financial problem but it creats a global worming problem since you don't know the entire system and relation between the parts.you can't predict that noxus fums emitted from your factory may damage the ozone layer because you only know the factory and you don't know the nature of air and existance of ozone layer and the relation between air and ozone layer.


    holism on the other hand considers system as a whole. it will not create new problem in the process of solving an existing one. so i think holism is better than reductionism.
    This sounds good in principle but isnt there problems with the approach?
    Dont you have to solve equations of too high degree when the components of the system mutually effect each other? Isnt it, so far, neccessary to simplify things in order to be able to calculate?
    we first simplyfy the subject then step by step go into complication and at the end we should come to the real nature of subject with all its complication. for example: if we study human body, we should study each organ separately first and then we should study the relation between organs and finally we study both the organs and relation so that we can study the human body as it is.

    under reductionist approach, we just study each organ separately and then we focus on a particular organ and sit there without studying the entire system. such approach is dangerous.
    I repeat. It sounds good but I suspect the devil is in the details,
    that when you try to model the system as a whole AND in detail then its complexity may make it impossible to calculate...Mind you I dont claim it always necessarily is so...its only me worrying
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    so according to you holism is necessary where an application is made. what about medical science? also when you are going to add or remove any parts of car, bike or nuke, you must know what will be the impact on the entire system. otherwise your problem will never be solved.
    Pharmaceutical company might test different drug on human/animal to see how it work. For example: no one really sure how drug like anesthesia work, but still use it anyway because it work. So they might be using holism philosophy (?) since they are basing on "what happen to the body as a whole" rather than going to the technical detail or examining how to manipulate the brain...
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    A problem with the holistic approach is the at historically it does not produce any tangible results. Reductionism is much more produtive of actual knowledge that allows predictale manipulation of the real world. Example: due to the holistic world view in the late middle ages physicians were not allowed to disect human bodies, they had to resort to grave robing to get cadavers to study.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    so according to you holism is necessary where an application is made. what about medical science? also when you are going to add or remove any parts of car, bike or nuke, you must know what will be the impact on the entire system. otherwise your problem will never be solved.
    Pharmaceutical company might test different drug on human/animal to see how it work. For example: no one really sure how drug like anesthesia work, but still use it anyway because it work. So they might be using holism philosophy (?) since they are basing on "what happen to the body as a whole" rather than going to the technical detail or examining how to manipulate the brain...

    maybe.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    A problem with the holistic approach is the at historically it does not produce any tangible results. Reductionism is much more produtive of actual knowledge that allows predictale manipulation of the real world. Example: due to the holistic world view in the late middle ages physicians were not allowed to disect human bodies, they had to resort to grave robing to get cadavers to study.
    they are traine to know what happened in the body the other way. i have read some of the medical book written by mediavel scholers holding holistic view. in the middle ages physicians were taught to read symptoms of the body to know whats going on inside the body and they did pretty well in that.

    also in reductionism you are concentrating on a particular part of the body e.g heart, liver, nerve etc. you don't look at the system as whole. you may cure a heart disease but may end up creating a kidney problem or a nerve problem since you don't know what will be the impact of your medicine on the entire system. i think holism could solve the side effect problem of medicine.



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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    so according to you holism is necessary where an application is made. what about medical science? also when you are going to add or remove any parts of car, bike or nuke, you must know what will be the impact on the entire system. otherwise your problem will never be solved.
    Pharmaceutical company might test different drug on human/animal to see how it work. For example: no one really sure how drug like anesthesia work, but still use it anyway because it work. So they might be using holism philosophy (?) since they are basing on "what happen to the body as a whole" rather than going to the technical detail or examining how to manipulate the brain...
    I think its not holism... If I understand it correctly then the holistic approach is not to simplify, it is to see the whole as a function of all its interacting parts. I simply suspect that its not yet possible in the interesting cases. It sounds like a good idea at first, but the more I think about it the more sceptic I get. Either we can calculate or we must simplify.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    so according to you holism is necessary where an application is made. what about medical science? also when you are going to add or remove any parts of car, bike or nuke, you must know what will be the impact on the entire system. otherwise your problem will never be solved.
    Pharmaceutical company might test different drug on human/animal to see how it work. For example: no one really sure how drug like anesthesia work, but still use it anyway because it work. So they might be using holism philosophy (?) since they are basing on "what happen to the body as a whole" rather than going to the technical detail or examining how to manipulate the brain...
    I think its not holism... If I understand it correctly then the holistic approach is not to simplify, it is to see the whole as a function of all its interacting parts. I simply suspect that its not yet possible in the interesting cases. It sounds like a good idea at first, but the more I think about it the more sceptic I get. Either we can calculate or we must simplify.

    please state in your own language what are the faults of holistic system? holistic system is able to predict. it can predict what will happen to the whole system if we do something to one of its parts. any other fault please state clearly.



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    Im not sure I can do that. Im still thinking on the subject: If holism is just looking at the whole without seeing how the parts relate to the whole and the other parts, then holism is simplification.
    So what remains? Is holism to use an isomorph model of the object? So there only is to check what happens to the model to predict the future of the object? Then holism is exact description and the only question is what to do if such a model for practical reasons is not available?

    Im not yet saying holism is wrong, Im saying I dont understand it as well as I would like.

    Why dont you try to explain from the beginning, slow and carefully?
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    When i was nearing the end of my time(s) at the academies, I was drawing on knowledge from one field to write papers in another field--each dicipline had it's own knowledge base and it's own lexicon, and it's own way of structuring the knowledge. And very few of the professors were aware of the advances in the related fields. Specialists all, with blinders. One professor accused me of being genious after reading one such paper, and I told him that the matter was simple undergraduate stuff in a related dicipline, rephrased and restructured to the lexicon and structure of his field, with a few insights from other related fields sprinkled in as spice to the cake.
    I submit that most "specialists" are woefully undereducated, (as, i suspect is true of the majority of the population). The problem arises that education is expensive, and to succeed in a particular field, one must focus on the knowledge base within that field. During the years before tenure, my beloved spouse had no time for anything else but her field. (hell is being an assistant professor with whom no one will associate) Only after tenure, was her mind allowed to broaden it's base, and her intellect blossomed like a beautiful flower in springtime. (She made full professor this year and is the only full professor in her department)
    If we wish to overcome these problems of specialization, then the whole system needs to be restructured to encourage people to spend much more time pursuing higher education in all related fields.
    As a species, we all share the same hard wiring of our brains, so invariable, soulutions to the foibles of our shortcomings will derive from a universality of the collected wisdom of the greater whole. And the mind/brain dichotomy common to any specialization will vanish in a satory of the awakening whole.
    OK, maybe that is a tad too optomistic?
    ............
    edit: Wholistic vs holistic?
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    Im more problem oriented, I see problems and tries to solve them.
    Sometimes you have to enlarge your competence in order to succeed.
    Otherwise id stick to playing guitar or computer games.
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    If one does not understand that the puzzle is made of pieces, one does not understand the puzzle.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Im not sure I can do that. Im still thinking on the subject: If holism is just looking at the whole without seeing how the parts relate to the whole and the other parts, then holism is simplification.
    no holism is studying every parts and their relation in order to understand the whole.


    Why dont you try to explain from the beginning, slow and carefully?
    ok i am explaining it now.

    holism is systems thinking. ok. just go to the link and you'll understand.

    Systems thinking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



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