From Big Medical Encyclopedia

REDUCTIONISM — the methodological principle, according to Krom knowledge of certain aspects of activity of complex systems is carried out by their data (reduction) to a nek-eye to simpler systems having essential value in functioning of these complex systems. For example, biological phenomenon muscular contraction (see) is considered as physicochemical process of transition of a complex of macromolecules of the actin, a myosin, ATP and calcium which is in liquid state in the actomyosin having high elasticity and elasticity. As a result of reductive approach set of elementary concepts (in the reviewed example forms nek-paradise — physical and chemical), to-rye further are used for an explanation of characteristics of activity of complex systems, napr, the physical and chemical explanation of muscular exhaustion, emergence is offered myopathies (see), myatonias (see) etc. the phenomena relating not to the level of physical and chemical patterns, but already physiological and clinical level.

The ruble does not match analytical approach, differs from the last in what is not limited to search of the «elementary» relations, but explains characteristics of integrity of live systems with their help. In narrower value the term «reductionism» is used for designation of the direction in the western philosophy of science which considers a reduction as only scientific method of knowledge that leads to underestimation of qualitative specifics of more complex systems, to revival of mechanistic representations.

The appeal to a context of its use finding a position of the scientist on a problem of «reducibility» is important for distinguishing of positive and negative contents of the term «reductionism».

Discussions about «reducibility» and «not reducibility» have an old story both in philosophy, and in natural sciences — first of all biology and medicine. They gained special sharpness since the end 16 — the beginnings of 17 centuries when dominating in science there is a mechanistic outlook reducing all phenomena surrounding the person to laws of physics (mechanics). In medicine, thanks to R. Descartes's works, there is an idea of a human body as about the «car» subordinated to mechanical laws. These representations find detailed development in activity of doctors - materia - sheets — X. De Rua, Zh. Lametri, P. Kabanis, etc. Transfer of the advanced scientific representations from physics and chemistry in biology and medicine well influences development of their methodology and first of all formation of an experimental method. Data live to the level of physical and chemical interactions in works of JI. Etc. led Galjvani, F. Ma-zhandi, I. Müller to formation of the electrophysiologic direction in physiology of a nervous system. The basic possibility of reproduction of certain aspects of life activity of an organism by methods of chemistry was proved by the doctor and the chemist F. Voeller who was artificially synthesizing urea, edges is made only by live organisms. At the same time inability of mechanistic materialism it is rational to explain integrity and expediency of live organisms, and also processes of a new growth, with to-rymi embryologists especially often faced (see. Preformizm , Epigenesis ), served as the salutary soil for formation of vitalism in biology and medicine (see. Vitalism , Teleology ). Vitalistic ideas of «soul», «vital force», «the creating idea» it. items were created to display qualitative specifics of live organisms, their basic not reducibility to the phenomena of the physical and chemical world. Such large biologists and physicians as Shtal were supporters of vitalism (G. E. Stahl), A. Galler, K. F. V oljf, I. Müller, K. Bernard, H. Driesch, etc.

Philosophical comprehension of a dispute of a mekhanitsizm and vitalism on a problem of reducibility of life to physical and chemical patterns was given in I. Kant's works, to-ry is known not only as the great philosopher, but also as the large theorist scientist who offered one of the first cosmogonic hypotheses of an origin of solar system of an initial fog. According to I. Kant, knowledge of life meets exclusive difficulties. Being science about the natural phenomena, the biology is obliged to use idea of mechanical determination of events, edges it is insufficient for an explanation of the essence of biological phenomena. Vkhmeste from subjects addition of ideas of mechanisms of wildlife with vitalistic ideas of existence in it of target factors (the so-called final causes) though allows to comprehend qualitative specifics of life, however introduces in the nature an element of free causality obviously not inherent to it, i.e. abilities to action according to the conscious purpose. The contradiction (antinomy) of two, unsoluble for scientific knowledge of an era of modern times, equally metaphysically of limited methods of knowledge of life — mechanistic and vitalistic forms thereby.

Historical and biological and philosophical studying of a dilemma «a mekhanitsizm — vitalism» in many respects promotes understanding of a modern problem of a reductionism., but would be incorrect to consider this problem only as revival traditional for biology and. medicine of discussions. Thanks to progress of scientific knowledge in studying of unity and variety of the organic world metaphysical extremes were generally overcome — both the frank mekhanitsizm, and vitalism represent quite unusual occurrence in modern science. Nevertheless fight of the philosophical ideas continues as wide use of methods of the exact sciences in knowledge of biological systems creates new problems of methodological character.

Emergence and development of such scientific directions in knowledge of life, as molecular biology (see), molecular genetics (see), population genetics (see) etc., represents jump in emergence of new levels of studying of life and its evolution. The ratio of these levels among themselves, their «reducibility» to each other and at the same time a qualitative originality is discussed Vsovremenny biology at the solution practically of all theoretically significant problems. Being the molecular biology generated by development, the problem of a reductionism as if stepped over borders of a question of a ratio of physical and chemical biology with all system of biological sciences and found variety of the forms. So, clarification of questions of is significantly important for development of theoretical biology whether creation of theory of evolution only on the basis of population genetics is possible; whether action of natural selection to selection of mutations is reduced; the role of heredity in behavior of animals (i.e. whether the geneticist can consider the base of ethology) etc. is how essential. Not less various problems of use of the principle of a reduction arise in medicine as the range of its researches stretches from studying of processes of life activity at the molecular and submolecular levels to the level of psychology, social psychology, sociology, etc. the social sciences participating in complex knowledge of life person (see). At what strukturnofunktsionalny level of an organism there were disturbances as they are connected with a disease what possible methods of its diagnosis and treatment — at the solution of these questions the doctor is forced to operate with concepts «private» and «complete», to take out judgment of their mutual comparability and interrelation. He uses the principle of a reduction, simplifying the difficult phenomena, reducing them to set of the elementary, objectively registered parameters. So, given the biochemical and biophysical analysis, to the Crimea at a certain stage of diagnosis the picture of a disease comes down, are an important, though preliminary stage in understanding of the reasons and mechanisms of formation of a disease. The scientific solvency and fruitfulness of reductive approach in medicine are proved by progress medical genetics (see) in disclosure of molecular bases of considerable group hereditary diseases (see).

Need and fruitfulness of reductive approach to the solution of a number of problems of medicine and biology leads nek-ry researchers to idea of its sufficiency, to denial of other methods of scientific knowledge of processes of life activity. In the theoretical plan it is shown, e.g., in the bio-logizatsii person, in the aspiration to reduce all variety and extreme complexity of the human person, forms of its public life activity to certain biological phenomena. So, e.g., the famous Austrian zoologist Lorentz (To. Lorenz), one of creators of ethology (science about behavior of animals), in nek-ry works extended biological patterns of behavior of animals to human society. In the biology the exaggeration of the importance of reductive approach is shown, e.g., in judgments of unscientific nature of the Darvinian theory of evolution on the ground that it is difficult to subject its theoretical provisions to direct experimental check.

In the practical relation of idea of R.'s self-sufficiency are undesirable and on a number of the negative effects are especially dangerous in medicine. They are shown in exaggeration of a role of objective (tool) methods of a research, data of the laboratory analysis in diagnosis of diseases, in implementation of medical actions and control of a condition of the patient. At such approach when the doctor in essence withdraws from process of treatment, abstracts from the identity of the patient, reducing his organism to the sum of objective indicators, the most adverse are possible and effects, irreparable for health of the patient.

The dialectics of «reducibility» and «not - reducibility» properties of material systems of various degree of complexity and methods of their knowledge to each other was in detail investigated by F. Engels in the concept of forms of motion of matter, having shown continuous communication and at the same time a qualitative originality of each level of the movement of matter. From the point of view of materialistic dialectics, knowledge, addressing fundamental bases of the natural phenomena — to «nizlezhashchy» levels of the organization of matter, it is capable .polny to reflect characteristics of integrity and systemacity of an object of a research. As F. Engels wrote, «we „will undoubtedly reduce" sometime experimentally thinking to the molecular and chemical movements in a brain, but unless it exhausts essence of thinking» (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd prod., t. 20, page 563).

For the correct assessment of a role of the principle of a reduction both scientific, and practical activities need to consider complete character. Even at the level of empirical observation this activity contains not just set of cognitive operations. They are included in a context of the general understanding of the nature of an object. The choice of logical learning tools depends on a goal of a research, the accepted theoretical representations and world outlook premises. Features of theoretical knowledge in medicobiological sciences, their close connection with practice of health care, with problems of knowledge of human nature, with global problems of the present — all this does even more notable dependence of specific scientific research on the public purposes.

Dialektiko-materialistichesky assessment of the principle of a reduction focuses attention to communication of this cognitive means with a problem of integrity. Installation on differentiation of knowledge, edge by all means is present during the use of the principle of a reduction, shall be combined with integrative тенденциями^ inherent in complete dialectic approach. The reductionism as one of the most important means of obtaining scientific knowledge cannot but be adjusted by that purpose, the cut it serves, that is to be constantly oriented to premised judgment of the integrity needing more exact and specific studying. Therefore in the analysis of a specific role of the principle of a reduction definition of that initial parcels, that «complete vision» of an object is extremely important, theoretical knowledge about Krom is enriched on the basis of a reductive explanation. Its correct use includes not only a question, «what comes down and what to comes down», but certain purpose: for what for what solution of a circle of theoretical and practical problems the reduction is used. To. Marx emphasized that in the course of the theoretical research the image whole «shall soar constantly in our representation as premises». (K. Marx and F. Engel with, Soch., 2nd prod., t. 46, p. I, page 38). Therefore and at the beginning of the research when only the most general idea is had of an object, and at those its stages when the studied object is reduced it (is reduced) to a nek-swarm to elementary system of interactions, and at the final stage the researcher shall not lose sight of a phenomenon in its integrity. It is necessary to estimate the registered elementary changes from the point of view of this complete representation. Studying, e.g., chemical processes in living tissues, it is necessary not to be limited to their consideration in itself, but to try to find out their biological sense, value for implementation of functioning of an organism in the conditions of norm and pathology. Thereby, since complete representation, knowledge through procedures of a reduction shall come again by the beginning at the end — to complete representation, but already at more developed, informative level. Incomparability «began» and «end» most often demonstrates revaluation of the data obtained on the basis of a reduction on oblivion of its office role and limits of its applicability. Wide use of a method of a reduction in medicine speaks as escalating differentiation of clinical and theoretical medical disciplines, and implementation of a large number of laboratory and tool diagnostic methods, use to-rykh is connected with attraction of methods of the exact sciences. However the patient as something complete, indivisible, can «escape» at the same time as subject of the theory and practice. Limitation of opportunities of the principle of a reduction in medicine is found even more brightly, than in biology as success of treatment depends on understanding of its impact on a complete organism of the patient. The principle — to treat the patient, and not just a disease, demands from the doctor of world outlook approach, understanding of complete human nature.

The unity of biological, social, common cultural, ethical, at last, individual and personal determination of life activity of the person represents fundamental and in a number of essential aspects still an unresolved problem of medicine. Without solution of this problem justification of qualitative feature of a subject of medicine, and also a research of specific questions of an ontogeny of the person, about a role of genetic factors in formation of mentality is impossible, about psychosomatic relationship also pathologies etc. are normal. In process of attaching of biological knowledge to the solution of problems of the person, the environment of his dwelling there is a need to make some kind of «inventory» of cash of knowledge and its results not to allow biologizatorsky extremes, and at the same time to help medicine to use fruitfully a reduction to biological knowledge.

The correct understanding of a role of a reduction in medical genetics is especially important. Specifics of problems of genetics of the person are found especially accurately when recognition of biosocial human nature acts as premises of a research. Matter not only that the person the most high-organized living being, and knowledge of patterns of heredity are received on the elementary organisms. Discovery of universality genetic code (see) is the greatest achievement of science, but it fixes a community of laws of heredity at molecular level while real manifestation of these laws at the level of a complete human body depends on the nature of its universality not only as a biological, but also social being. Without a role of social factors the solution of the major problems of medical genetics is almost impossible: a research of mutational process at the person, studying of genealogy of hereditary diseases and genetic predisposition to certain diseases, interaction of genetic and neurophysiological determination in life activity of the person etc.

Therefore direct extrapolation of knowledge from any dochelovechesky level live on human is inadmissible. In this regard problems of a reduction and extrapolation of knowledge become central in methodology of knowledge of heredity of the person, interaction of hereditary and environmental factors of developing of a disease, and also in creation of theoretical concepts health (see) and diseases (see).

During the use of a reductive explanation in medical knowledge conscious and consecutive carrying out the methodological principles adequate to character of modern science is necessary. These principles cannot be out of a dialectic way of thinking. mastering the Crimea acts as the most important condition of further progress of medicine.

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P. S. Karpinskaya, G. H. Hon.