The roots of reductionism:
A counter-ontoepistemology for a systems approach

(Fuenmayor Arocha, Ramsés Leonardo)

Systems thinking is presented as the antithesis of "reductionism". This article -the first in a trilogy which intends to present an ontoepistemological foundation for interpretive systemology- is concerned with understanding the ontoepistemological roots of reductionism. The immediate purpose of such an understanding is to provide an interpretive contrasting context (a counter-ontoepistemology) against which an ontoepistemology for systems thinking can dialectically be drawn (the second and third papers in the trilogy published in this issue of Systems Practice). The inquiry into the ontoepistemological roots of reductionism leads to the principle of noncontradiction. Such a principle is shown to be the source of the merging together the most fundamental ontological and epistemological principles ruling Western thought. As such, they are shown to have brought about reductionism in modern science. Finally, the "form of essential recursiveness" is put forward as a logical antithetical form with regard to the principle of noncontradiction and which will serve as a logical instrument for developing an ontoepistemology for the systems approach.

This article was published in Systems Practice, Vol. 4, Nº 5, 1991. pp. 419-448. Plenum Press, New York and London.