Questions tagged [occams-razor]

Occam's/Ockham's razor is a principle, created by William of Ockham, that can be summarized as "Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected".

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5answers
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Do any philosophers disagree with Occam's razor?

I never bought into the razor. For example, if I have two hypotheses A and B with equal evidence, the razor would have me pick the simpler one. But personally in my mind, I create a sort of credence-...
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How is Occam's Razor reconciled with consideration of less likely scenarios?

Occam's Razor (AKA "Law of Parsimony") has been established as a foundational principle of modern (or Western) philosophical and scientific thought. It states that: Among competing hypotheses, the ...
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How could both Occam's Razor and complex theories like Quantum Mechanics be correct at the same time?

It is becoming harder to use just simple theories, where more complex ones are needed e.g. quantum mechanics, super string theory, ... Are such theories in conflict with Occam's Razor?
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Is there a difference between things that can't be interacted with and things that don't exist?

Suppose there is a magical kingdom that is hidden somewhere over the rainbow and can never be reached by anything, most people would say that such a place might as well not exist. However, the same ...
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How to justify Occam's Razor?

I'm aware of a few justifications for Occam's (or Ockham) Razor, as it's usually understood that extra factors/complexities should not be added unnecessarily. The only truly compelling justification I ...
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Thermodynamics of Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor states, essentially, that among hypotheses with similar explanatory power, the simplest hypothesis should be favored as the most plausible. Thermodynamics states, at zero temperature, ...
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Zombies and Occam's razor

Consider the following scenario: (i) Due to the human's biology (or for some other reasons), everyone is actually a zombie, and there is only a handful of people (including me, the person writing ...
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Occams principle is seen as a corner-stone of modern science, are there any examples where its opposite is shown to be useful?

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 ...
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Does modal realism dispense with Occams razor or embodies it?

Modal realism posits the reality of all logically possible worlds. This seems to radically dispense with Occams razor by allowing the reality of all logically feasible explanations. But on reflection ...
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Why are physical laws so simple?

Many of the most general physical laws are very simple, from Einstein's law of General Relativity to Schrodinger's Equation in quantum mechanics. Why aren't are most basic physical laws incredibly ...
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Is Occam's razor about finding the “Best” or the “Worst”?

William of Ockham would, in the 14th century, scarcely have imagined how much Philosophy of science could change. Then when Bacon gave us Inductivism in the 17th century, an immediate synergy can be ...
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Is faith necessary for optimism?

I’ve been pondering this awhile now. I think possibly the most important thing to me is intellectual honesty when it comes to things - tending to be a realist; anticipating what is most likely going ...
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Occam's razor and believing that the world is flat

Suppose I'm a inland, rural, tropical farmer who spend my life in one place tending to my farm without education in astronomy. Then someone comes along and tells me that the earth is round. All the "...
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Problem of induction without i.i.d

In this paper of Aaronson's, a proof is given of Occam's razor by appealing to PAC learning. My understanding of Valiant's bounds for PAC learners is that it requires i.i.d. This is often a ...
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Could generalization of scientific theories be possible by just adding an ad hoc hypothesis?

In a seventeenth century world the Newtonian model did mostly very well to describe how gravity works in the universe and did well with most empirical evidence of that time. Of course now we know that ...
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Is it, a priori, more likely that an unknown object does not exist than that it does?

For me, intuitively the answer seems to be yes. But I don't know how this could be justified a priori. The hypothesis "x does not exist" seems not to be simpler than the hypothesis "x exists". By the ...
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Can a useful, formal system of logic be constructed with no axioms or assumptions, or perhaps using only Occam's razor?

Can a useful, formal system of logic be constructed with no axioms or assumptions, or perhaps using only Occam's razor? This may seem a silly and fun question, but what is the most complex proof that ...
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Has anyone claimed that no decision is inherently better or more rational than any other decision?

The is-ought problem, for those who believe it is an actual problem, is the problem that you can not deduce an ought statement from any number of is statements. It seems natural for this to lead to a ...
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Counterexamples to Occam's Razor and tautology

I read here and here that, strictly speaking, there are no counterexamples to Occam's rozar, because the latter implies no need for pluralism when unecessary, which is to be understood as "for the ...
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Are many razors subsets of Occam's

Looking at the list of razors, it seems quite a few are defining which truth is simple and should be assumed rather than a different option. Be it conversational implication over semantic context, or ...
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Isn't anti razor as valid as Occam razor in explaining the Universe and things in it? [closed]

I give an example where this question is important: There are 2 explanations of how the Universe came into existence: The Universe come out of nothing or something similar to nothing like quantum ...
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What is Wittgenstein referring to in 4.113

Philosophy limits the disputable sphere of natural science Does this refer to the demarcation problem (what is natural science) or occam's razor (what is the best explanation)? Or is it meant ...
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What is an event that was a counterexample to Occam's Razor?

I am asking for a set among n competing hypotheses where the simplest one was H_i but the correct one was H_j where i is not the same as j. That is, a time when scientists tested a bunch of hypotheses ...
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Why do old theories take priority over new ones?

Given two scientific theories that both agree with experiment, it seems that unless the new one is much simpler, the older one is accepted. Why is this so? Examples: Special Relativity wasn't ...
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How could Occam's razor possibly be used metaphysically?

Occam's razor, or the law of parsimony, states that the simplest explanation for any given data is most likely the correct one. Some have attempted to use Occam's razor in a metaphysical sense, to ...
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Razor to favor simpler methodology

problem : Two methodologies can be used to solve the same problem. One methodology is simple while the second is complex. question : Is there a razor to support methodology one? Or is there a ...
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Does quantum mechanics imply more than one observer, or can I get away with solipsism because of Occam's razor? [closed]

We really have nothing to say about extreme solipsism other than it's unprovable and untestable. Fine, I accept that. However, doesn't the razor imply solipsism? If I can get away with one observer (...
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Using Occam's Principle, is a viable Mechanical-Physical model of the universe better than a force based model [closed]

I wonder if: GIVEN, a viable, working model of the universe that incorporates only Euclidian Space, and an endless sea of specially shaped sub-quanta, and waves of kinetic energy in the form of ...