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Occams razor states that given a choice between differing explanations one should always choose the simplest. Of course this begs the question as to what one could mean by simplest.

I'm interested in situations in which the opposite principle has been found correct. That the more complex explanation wins out.

A possible example could be: There is life only on this planet and it is carbon-based as opposed to there are many kinds of life on many planets and they are not neccessarily carbon-based.

Given that choice the simplest seems to be the first, whereas I think the second, the more complex explanation is likely to be correct.

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Occams razor states that given a choice between differing explanations one should always choose the simplest. Of course this begs the question as to what one could mean by simplest.

That's a pretty poor restatement of Occam's razor. What he actually said was Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate, or "Plurality ought never be posited without necessity."

In other words, one should not introduce an entity into an explanation which is not necessary.

A possible example could be: There is life only on this planet and it is carbon-based as opposed to there are many kinds of life on many planets and they are not neccessarily carbon-based.

In order for that to be an example of Occam's razor, we'd need two competing explanations for the same phenomenon. That's not the case here.

  • Didn't liebniz posit an alternate idea, that all logical possibilities are not only possible but neccessary, and that this world is the best of all possible worlds? He may not have used the qualifier 'neccessary', but I'm sure some philosophers must have done. Its seems like an obvious extension of his work. – Mozibur Ullah Dec 1 '12 at 17:18

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