Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

From reductionism to reductionism

Fred L. Bookstein a1
a1 Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Neural organization attempts to thwart, at least in part, modern neuroscientists' tendency to focus reductionistically on ever smaller microsystems. But although emphasizing higher levels of systems organization, the authors end up enforcing reductionisms of their own, principally the reduction of their domain to the study of invariable normal functioning, without explicit modeling of the deviations that constitute disease states or aging. This reductionism seriously weakens the authors' claims about the truth of their quantitative models.