Perspectives on Politics


Politics, Genetics, and “Greedy Reductionism”1

Evan Charney

I would like to thank Alford, Funk, and Hibbing, and Hannagan and Hatemi, for agreeing to write critical responses to my article, and I am grateful for the opportunity afforded me to respond.


1 “Greedy reductionism” is a term coined by Daniel Dennett (1995, 82) to condemn those forms of reductionism that try to explain too much with too little. Use of this expression is not meant to imply an endorsement of Dennett's thesis.

The renowned geneticist Jonathan Beckwith, American Cancer Society Research Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, has written a response to Alford, Funk, and Hibbing and Hannagan and Hatemi which will appear in a forthcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics. His contribution is intended to supplement my response, providing the unique perspective of a geneticist in a debate that has been dominated by political scientists and psychologists.