the theory that every complex phenomenon, especially in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.
the practice of simplifying a complex idea, issue, condition, or the like, especially to the point of minimizing, obscuring, or distorting it.

1940–45; reduction + -ism

reductionist, noun, adjective
reductionistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
reductionism (rɪˈdʌkʃəˌnɪzəm)
1.  the analysis of complex things, data, etc, into less complex constituents
2.  derogatory often any theory or method that holds that a complex idea, system, etc, can be completely understood in terms of its simpler parts or components
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Genomics' reductionist approach has become more holistic.
Abrams has taken this reductionist approach before on our site.
Biology has made extraordinary progress over the last century by following a
  relentlessly reductionist road.
They rejected and attacked the prevailing atomistic, or reductionist,
  approaches to perception.
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