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The more complex and numerous the phenomena that are to be explained, the more complex the theories with ever more necessary entities that have to be proclaimed for explaining them. Occam's Razor in one contemporary (in his time) formulation is: lat. Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate engl. Plurality is not to be posited without ...


14

Does Occam's razor actually favor (i) over (ii)? No, because although (i) and (ii) both assert the reality of consciousness, (i) further asserts the reality of something that inexplicably mimics it. So (i) inevitably involves greater complexity; it has multiplied the entities involved with the assertion that there are really existing p-zombies. If so, in ...


14

I find the wording of Occam's razor to lead people astray. Its wording suggests that it is always good to select a hypothesis. I prefer to adulterate his words, and in doing so, believe I get closer to the concept he intended: If one should select from among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Alternatively, ...


12

Let me post the simple answer. Occam's razor advises that: Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Now the thing is, that the simple hypotheses (eg. Newtonian mechanics) have been proven experimentally wrong. This means they are not competing hypotheses, they are just (very) useful approximations. And out of ...


10

This is a great question, but I think it's based on a slight misunderstanding of the Razor. The principle does not suggest that you should not consider or investigate less likely interpretations — on the contrary, by all means investigate all possible explanations where you can. However, when all your investigations are done and the evidence does not ...


10

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 ...


8

The intuitive version (that seems justified to me) is a statement of pragmatism, not truth: if A and B explain things equally well, and A is simpler, why would I bother with the extra headache of B? I think there's a truthier version that is entangled with Kolmogorov complexity and dynamic semantics in deep ways. I've never seen anything approaching a ...


6

In an absolute sense, no. Having zombies and normal people is itself adding an entity without effects. If all the effects are covered by assuming no distinction, then we are better off assuming there is no such thing as a zombie. It is just this kind of scholastic effulgence of needless potential distinctions the thing was invented to complain about. It ...


6

Ockham's Razor is a maxim. Maxims are succinct principles or rules that are used to guide actions. The razor guides us to prefer the theory (or theories) that posit(s) the least total number of entities while satisfactorily explaining the phenomena in question over theories that explain the same phenomenon but posit more entities. As the razor's Wikipedia ...


6

I don't know of any particular philosopher that thinks in that way. From what you explained, I tend to agree with your view, but what I can give you in terms of an answer is something else. I wouldn't say that your view is actually a disagreement with Occam's Razor. The issue here is that Occam's Razor is so much used and have so many different "versions" ...


5

You have to be clear on what Ockham's Razor is and is not. How to understand the principle is still a hotly debated subject. The core idea is that, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is best. That begs for an explanation of the relevant sort of simplicity. Generally it is qualitative and NOT quantitative parsimony that people are interested ...


5

I like Popper's interpretation. Simplicity is not based on language or aesthetics; it is based on falsifiability. Regarding your question "the burden of proof should be borne on the side that has to prove more things" I say, yes. Suppose you gather data below, sample 1 is 1 1 0 sample 2 is 2 3 2 sample 3 is 5 1 10 and you make a theory "the third value is ...


4

The Razor is based on a more fundamental principle that we should give verifiable evidence wherever possible for any claim, from which it follows that we should prefer to limit the number of unverifiable claims, or unobservable entities, wherever possible. The Razor follows directly from this. For example, suppose that we have an observable phenomenon X. ...


4

I think I am saying the same thing as the others here, but I want to avoid pointless distinctions and nuance. Put less sarcastically, such a kingdom has existed in the minds of many literally-minded Fundamentalist Christians now and in the past. It is part of the description of heaven, which is miraculous rather than magical, but beyond the sky and not ...


4

So far as I can see, Ockham's Razor is simply a methodological rule, a principle of parsimony, that tells us not to assume more than we absolutely have to in order to explain something - an object, an event, a state of affairs or whatever. Hence the old familiar, 'Ockham's razor shaved Plato's beard' - meaning that there was no need to assume the existence ...


4

The situation you describe would not be a counter-example to Occam's razor but just a reminder that it's a rule of thumb. It does not say that the simplest theory is always correct, it says that given two equally effective solutions the one that requires the least hypotheses or hypothetical entities is to be preferred. It is very common for a theory to ...


3

In terms of Bayesian hypothesis testing, Occam's razor is incorporated in the prior probabilities of the hypotheses. Often one can interpret differences in the prior probabilities as being "entropic". E.g. imagine two models: H1: 0<=x<0.2, H2: 0.2<x<1.0, based on some parameter 0<=x<1. If we take the maximum entropy (constant) ...


3

The idea embodied in Occam's razor is present in Bayesian descriptions of belief; and this formulation provides a rigorous mathematical formulation of the idea. Qualitatively, more complex theories have their (prior) probability density spread out over a larger (higher dimensional even) volume, which ends up affecting the inferred probability of the ...


3

I've begun seeing Ockham's razor as being a statement about cognition and learning, and not about the construction of reality. Human understanding works best by successive approximation. Think about coming up with the coefficients in a Taylor series one at a time, vs. trying to figure out multiple at once. Trying to figure out multiple at once is ...


3

Read the paper Friederich Nietzsche and the seduction of Occam’s razor by Danesh-Meyer, Helen V.Young, Julian, 2010. It states the risk of assuming a single root cause for a plethora of symptoms in the medical context. Interesting and enjoyable read. In my opinion, in evaluating data mining models that seek multiple explanatory variables to describe a ...


3

I think you are intentionally misquoting the section about PAC learning of Aaronson's paper, in order to ask a question about that nicely written paper. The intention of the quoted section is not to prove Occam's razor, but to explain how Valiant's theory of PAC learning can help with clarifying the following questions regarding Occam's razor: (1) What ...


3

Quantum mechanics is a theory from physics, while Occam's Razor - see its wording from Philip Kloecking's answer - is a heuristic from the theory of science. As long as we do not have a better theory than quantum mechanics, the latter fits perfectly well to Occam's razor: There is no concurrent theory which explains at least as much as quantum theory, but ...


3

If in fact your farmer is constrained to always be within a few miles of his home (vertically too), then to within a few feet of elevation (which is probably swamped by topography anyway) the Earth is flat. If the roundness of the Earth never affects him/her then that is all he/she needs to know, and the (local) evidence provides justification for this. ...


3

we can see that a large proportion of physical equations are extremely simple this is because we have developed these for our understanding of all these units and values. Many phenomena can be described by relatively simple, and often linear, equations well enough for most practical purposes. But, take Newton's 2nd Law, often written F = ma (the vector ...


3

Firstly, let me concur that GR is very simple. Yes, the maths is complex in the sense of few people can follow it, but the fact is that people can follow it. That means it is very simple in the space of possible theories. QM is not quite so simple; without getting into it, there is a lot more controversy/ dissatisfaction around Copenhagen etc. For my money,...


3

In machine learning and statistics Occam's razor has a precise mathematical interpretation: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam_learning The basic idea is that by focusing on simpler explanations one is much less likely to overfit the data -- the phenomenon where one tries to explain the data with an exceedingly complex hypothesis that explains all the ...


2

Occam's razor favors hypothesis (ii). There is only one way for everybody to have consciousness; thus consciousness is just part of the definition of person. Figuratively, this is just one extra feature of the world, and is required in order to explain why other people seem to respond to situations similar to the way I do. If some people have ...


2

You seem to be confusing a very fundamental distinction. And mixing up symbols and whatever they are about. To "explain" something is not to "reproduced" or "expand" it. It is to "reduce" it in some functional way. A way general enough to be accessible to others. The classic example is a map. The map is useful only because it removes information. A map as ...


2

Comment for "Bonus question" The original "context" of Ockham's Razor was quite different from modern "naive" interpretations : Ockham's “nominalism,” [...] is often viewed as derived from a common source: an underlying concern for ontological parsimony. This is summed up in the famous slogan known as “Ockham's Razor,” often expressed as “Don'...


2

Quantum mechanics is a simple theory, you're just trying to understand it from a highly complex point of view! As any theory explains deeper and more fundamental units of the universe, they get simpler and simpler. The complexity creeps in when you try and infer what any number of individually simple interactions might have at a macro level. Interestingly,...


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