Monday, 4 June 2012

Reductionism, a correction.

 I previously made (and deleted) an entry titled "Struggling with IR Theory". My contention was that IR theory attempts to explain phenomena at such a wide scope that it misses important intricacies that can only be observed by "zooming in" so to speak. In other words, it takes a uselessly holistic approach to the international actors (states, corporations etc) when it needs to analyse the individuals that they are comprised of.
 I was guilty of a reductionism which was largely the result of my views on economics, or to be precise my views on the relation between macro and micro-economics.
Much of this is touched on by Prof Steve Keen, author of the recent "Debunking Economics".
 I recommend this video introduction to anyone interested in seeing the other side to the neo-classical consensus.

1 comment:

  1. Excessive holism often leads to idiosyncratic generalization and thus excessive essentialism. On the other hand, when examining a system reductionistically, one musn't forget to place the agents into context, IE take into account the structure and arrangement of the component parts that comprise the system. Interestingly, and I largely attribute this to Aristotle's influence, the near whole of the Western philosophic and scientific tradition stands guilty of both mistakes of these modes of analysis: essentialism (from holism), and thus applying this error to component parts without regard to particular context and structure--thus we see the birth of atomism.