I have hear of a person who claims that his explanations is a neat explanation. He says this almost as if this makes it better or more probable. What does this exactly mean? I suspect it has something to do with the principle K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid) or maybe even Occam's Razor.

EDIT: The person I mention claimed that in reference to the apparent fine tuning of the universe that an explanation for such fine tuning would be a designer. He said that this explanation did not call on any other speculative theories for its explanation and was therefore more neat.

Would this be a better explanation then under this definition of neat.

  • That's not per se a term with a universal definition in philosophy. Why don't you ask the person who keeps using it what they mean by it? (or if they are famous at least tell us their name).
    – virmaior
    Oct 4, 2014 at 8:52
  • I would suspect that English Language SE might work for this question. However in my view a neat explanation is one where the logic portrayed is easily followed or at least consistent.
    – Avestron
    Oct 4, 2014 at 14:46
  • 1
    Explanations play a big role in philosophy, though. So instead of migrating it, we could just make it fit for this page (What are necessary and sufficient conditions for an explanation to be good, etc.)
    – Lukas
    Oct 4, 2014 at 15:01
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    I don't think this needs to be migrated, but I do think the OP needs to return and clarify what he is asking.
    – virmaior
    Oct 5, 2014 at 9:06
  • So are you asking, 1) if an explanation that does not require further theories is neat, or 2) if the creator-theory is neat in this sense, or 3) what 'neat' means assumed that your friends explanation is a case of a 'neat explanation', or 4) if your friends explanation is in fact a good one?
    – Einer
    Oct 8, 2014 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


In the common use, something is neat when is clean and is in good order.

Then, i think is safe to say that a neat explanation satisfies at least the following properties (no priority order):

  • Complete: apport all the required information.
  • No redundancy: the same information is not expressed more than once.
  • Systematic: methodical in procedure.
  • Consistent: there is no contradiciton in statements.

Other related well known expression: "a neat job".

I agree Occam's Razor can be related to this, but we must be careful, because too much simplification could lead to a loss of completeness. So at the end, it depends on the context where the explanation is necessary.

  • This my view of what it is a "neat explanation", at least in the context the OP mentions. I don't pretend here to be "universal" or anything. I removed the "we", it doesn't make sense here.
    – JosEduSol
    Oct 5, 2014 at 17:07

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