Reductionism is any of several related philosophical ideas regarding the associations between phenomena, which can be described in terms of other simpler or more fundamental phenomena.[1] It is also described as an intellectual and philosophical position that interprets a complex system as the sum of its parts.[2]

René Descartes, in De homine (1662), claimed that non-human animals could be explained reductively as automata; meaning essentially as more mechanically complex versions of this Digesting Duck.