Occam's razor


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Occam's razor

A maxim that the simplest theory should be applied to a situation or experiment first. This concept is named for its ardent defender, 14th-century philosopher William of Occam. I think our initial hypothesis is too complex. Occam's razor would suggest we consider the simplest possible explanation.
See also: razor

Occam's razor

the principle that in explaining something no more assumptions should be made than are necessary.
This principle takes its name from the English philosopher and Franciscan friar William of Occam ( c .1285–1349 ): the image is that of the razor cutting away all extraneous assumptions.
See also: razor

Occam's razor

The simplest explanation of something is apt to be the correct one. This principle is named for the English scholar William of Occam (or Ockham), who lived from 1280 to 1349. A Franciscan monk, he so angered Pope John XXII through both his writings on the nature of knowledge and his defense of his order’s vow of poverty that he was excommunicated. William, whom his colleagues called Doctor Singularis et Invincibilis (“singular and invincible doctor”), put his principle in Latin: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, “Entities should not be unnecessarily multiplied.” In effect, he held that any unnecessary parts of a subject being analyzed should be eliminated. Obviously, this could simply be called Occam’s Principle, and indeed, the razor did not enter into it until a French philosopher, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, in 1746 called it Rasoir des Nominaux, “the razor of the nominalists,” that is, cutting through complicated arguments to reach the truth. In 1836 Sir William Hamilton, lecturing on metaphysics and logic, put the two ideas together, saying, “We are therefore entitled to apply Occam’s razor to this theory of causality.” While some may believe that this phrase, with its ancient and rather abstruse origin, is obsolete, novelist Archer Mayor clearly disagreed, for he entitled his 1999 murder mystery Occam’s Razor.
See also: razor
References in periodicals archive ?
Occam's Razor in this case suggests that these parts were simply played on natural trumpets.
Using Occam's Razor, all these phenomena can be simply explained: People hurt others because they don't like them.
That's when it hit me; if I applied Occam's Razor, like in that Simpsons episode, I'd come to a logical conclusion: The RAND Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people, under the supervision of the reverse vampires, are forcing exhibitors to go without publicity in a fiendish plot to eliminate business magazines!
Using the Occam's Razor approach, the simplest answer is all around you: the folks who work with you in your practice.
(This is the vexed question known in the philosophy of mind as "supervenience") Is this sort of dependency a problem too or, as with the Occam's razor discussion, am I indulging in sophistry again?
Well versed in the literature on Bollywood (which she effortless weaves into her account), Nayar applies a kind of cinema scholar's Occam's Razor to this genre.
Many are familiar with the Occam's Razor theory which implies, in a nutshell, that the simplest answer is most often the correct answer.
Whip Occam's razor out of your washbag and start slicing.
This is also true of accidentals and musica ficta, which is applied judiciously and seemingly with Occam's razor in mind.
The penultimate chapter on clinical reasoning introduces several key topics in inferential/analytical statistics such as the null hypothesis and levels of probability, as well as a collection of clinical aphorisms, including Sutton's law and Occam's razor.
The Occam's razor principle examines another aspect of a theory and prefers a theory that relies on a minimal number of assumptions.
For Aaronovitch the scalpel most useful in excising the cancer of conspiracy theory is Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor, pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, is translated as "plurality should not be posited without necessity." In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the best one.
And the basis for this conclusion - William of Occam's razor. A quick Google and you find that it's a scientific idea that the simplest explanation for most things is usually the right one.
The Gale/Montanaro thesis is interesting, but fails the Occam's razor test.