Thursday, November 09, 2006


Pablo Picasso. The Lovers. 1923. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USAReductionism in philosophy describes a number of related, contentious theories that hold, very roughly, that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to (explained by) simpler or more fundamental things. This is said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings.

Roughly, this means that chemistry is based on physics, biology is based on chemistry, psychology and sociology are based on biology. The first two of these reductions are commonly accepted but the last step is controversial and therefore the frontier of reductionism: evolutionary psychology and sociobiology versus those who claim that such special sciences are inherently irreducible. Reductionists believe that the behavioral sciences should become a "genuine" scientific discipline by being based exclusively on genetic biology.

In this painting by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), titled "The Lovers," painted in 1923, we see that the two figures are rendered realistically and that they have the appearance of being a loving couple. But the hands and the faces have been innately simplified and are presented as simple lines rather than circumspectly imitated models.


No comments:




Blog Archive

Desiring God Blog

Youth for Christ International