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Reductionism and library and information science philosophy

Bonna Jones (School of Business Information Technology, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 25 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to consider the meaning of “reductionism” within the context of renewed efforts to make library and information science philosophy.

Design/methodology/approach

This article argues that the question of reductionism, as discussed in other traditions of thought, is relevant to the conversation about development of new library and information science (LIS) philosophy. Based on the viewpoint that one can be opposed to philosophical reductionism yet still be in favour of science, some forms of reductionism are described and links are drawn to library and information science by way of examples.

Findings

How reductionism is defined and understood should be addressed in the efforts to make new LIS philosophy.

Originality/value

Being “non‐reductionist” can be a stance in its own right, as evidenced by broader transdisciplinary conversations, but this is yet to be considered at any depth in LIS.

Keywords

Citation

Jones, B. (2008), "Reductionism and library and information science philosophy", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 64 No. 4, pp. 482-495. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220410810884048

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited