1734: Reductionism

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"I've noticed you physics people can be a little on the reductionist side." "That's ridiculous. Name ONE reductionist word I've ever said."
Title text: "I've noticed you physics people can be a little on the reductionist side." "That's ridiculous. Name ONE reductionist word I've ever said."


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: This is a reductionist's explanation
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

Reductionism is an approach that seeks to understand the world by breaking problems into simpler pieces. This approach can disregard emergent properties which appear only from the individual parts working together. Here the meta joke is that Randall is attempting to define the word 'Reductionism', but is taking the reductionist approach to its extreme. He breaks the WORD "Reductionism" into individual letters explaining the origin of each individual letter, acting as if the word was nothing more than the "sum" of all its letters. In doing so he entirely fails to explain the actual meaning of the word.

In the title text, the speaker claims they are not reductionist since they have never said a single reductionist word. However the speaker overlooks the fact that reductionism is an emergent property of sentences. By focussing on individual words in this way the speaker proves them-self a reductionist, in the very act of trying to refute this accusation.


REDUCTIONISM n.1."R" is a letter with
origins in the egyptian hieroglyphics. "E"
stands for a vowel sound normally
represented by "I" until the 1500's. "D" is

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Just like defining recursion by: "recursion n: see recursion" :-) --JakubNarebski (talk) 15:05, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

"D" is a development from an Egyptian hieroglyph symbolizing a door. "U" is Capncanuck (talk)

"U" is what?! 03:48, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
"U" is a dummy variable; "i" is an imaginary number. 11:30, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

I feel like part of the meta-joke is the fact that the box cuts off the definition, literally reducing it. 20:04, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

Yes, reductionism reducted, reductionised, and reduced... 00:40, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

Would the letter 'I' in reductIonIsm be described twice? - Sebastian -- 10:36, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

Well, this is probably the first time I've been on here and the Wednesday comic is up on Thursday, but the Friday comic is still on schedule. Weird. --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 15:11, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

It was also the first time Randall delayed a comic to keep another comic on the front page. So since it was a planned delay of the previous comic this one was not supposed to be delayed. That would have been weird ;-) --Kynde (talk) 16:07, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

What amazed me in all this is that, every themes or words found on xkcd I've noticed that Reductionism adds to 174 in reverse ordinal and 143 in Jewish ordinal gematria little resemblance to 1743 -- Know More