Occam's Razor

(redirected from Principle of Simplicity)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to Principle of Simplicity: principle of parsimony

Occam's Razor

The English philosopher, William of Occam (1300-1349) propounded Occam's Razor:

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

(Latin for "Entities should not be multiplied more than necessary"). That is, the fewer assumptions an explanation of a phenomenon depends on, the better it is.

For example, some claim that God caused himself to exist and also caused the universe to exist - he was the "first cause" - whereas Occam's Razor suggests that if one accepts the possibility of something causing itself then it is better to assume that it was the universe that caused itself rather than God because this explanation involves fewer entities.

The negation of Occam's Razor would suggest that an arbitrarily complex explanation is just as good as the simplest one. (E.g. God and his cat created a robot called Sparky who built the universe from parts bought from a shop in another dimension).

See also KISS Principle.
References in periodicals archive ?
The principle of simplicity which inspires this book throughout is indeed its major strength: those readers who get sufficient appetite, are then directed to more in-depth books/references through the final chapter, devoted to selected references.
This is why the principle of simplicity is important: The more complex the tax design, the more lawyers and accountants will find loopholes, encourage the appearance of unfairness, and drive up the cost of its administration.
Based on the Islamic principle of simplicity in living, he has ordered that state government officers relinquish their BMWs for the Malaysian-made Proton.
The Shaker lifestyle, based on the principle of simplicity, order, perfection, cleanliness, health and thrift, and their aesthetic, based upon craftsmanship, function, and the beauty to be found in simplicity are described in this interesting, small publication.

Full browser ?