From 'An Introduction to General Systems Thinking', by Gerald Weinberg.

… it is his chosen task to understand the simplifying assumptions of a science… those ‘objects of interest’ and ‘well-defined conditions’ that delimit its domain of application and magnify its power of prediction.



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The concept is further explored in 'Consilience The Unity of Knowledge', by Edward O. Wilson:

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In 'More Than You Know', author Michael Mauboussin, explains the limits to reductionism:


Reductionism is the cornerstone of discovery in the Newtonian world, the basis for much of science's breathtaking advance in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. As scientist John Holland explains, 'The idea is that you could understand the world, all of nature, by examining smaller and smaller pieces of it. When assembled, the small pieces would explain the whole.' In many systems reductionism works brilliantly.

But reductionism has its limits...

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