27 votes
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How could both Occam's Razor and complex theories like Quantum Mechanics be correct at the same time?

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 ...
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14 votes

Zombies and Occam's razor

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. ...
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13 votes
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How is Occam's Razor reconciled with consideration of less likely scenarios?

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 ...
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12 votes

How could both Occam's Razor and complex theories like Quantum Mechanics be correct at the same time?

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. ...
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10 votes

How is Occam's Razor reconciled with consideration of less likely scenarios?

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 ...
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8 votes
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How to justify Occam's Razor?

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? ...
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5 votes

How to justify Occam's Razor?

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 ...
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4 votes

How to justify Occam's Razor?

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 ...
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4 votes

How to justify Occam's Razor?

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 ...
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4 votes

Is Occam's razor about finding the "Best" or the "Worst"?

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 ...
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4 votes
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Is Occam's Razor a Prior?

You might be interested in Epistemic Justification by Richard Swinburne (he was applying Bayes to philosophical issues before Bayesian epistemology became cool), especially the section The Criterion ...
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3 votes

How could both Occam's Razor and complex theories like Quantum Mechanics be correct at the same time?

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 ...
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3 votes
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Thermodynamics of Occam's Razor

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"....
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3 votes

Occam's razor and believing that the world is flat

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 ...
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3 votes

Why are physical laws so simple?

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 ...
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3 votes

Why are physical laws so simple?

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 ...
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3 votes

Is Occam's razor about finding the "Best" or the "Worst"?

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 ...
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3 votes

Is Occam's Razor a Prior?

Without any background information of a specific situation, generally Occam's Razor is not considered a priori first principle but aesthetic and heuristic according to reference here: The ...
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2 votes

Zombies and Occam's razor

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 ...
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  • 5,096
2 votes

Isn't anti razor as valid as Occam razor in explaining the Universe and things in it?

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 ...
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2 votes

How is Occam's Razor reconciled with consideration of less likely scenarios?

Comment for "Bonus question" The original "context" of Ockham's Razor was quite different from modern "naive" interpretations : Ockham's “nominalism,” [...] is often ...
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2 votes

How could both Occam's Razor and complex theories like Quantum Mechanics be correct at the same time?

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 ...
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2 votes

How could both Occam's Razor and complex theories like Quantum Mechanics be correct at the same time?

Ockham's original formulation goes like this : Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate Roughly translated, it means this : Plurality is never to be posited without necessity. Note the ...
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2 votes

Is there a difference between things that can't be interacted with and things that don't exist?

There does not seem to be a necessary link between existence and capable-of-being-interacted-with-ness. This is to say that the sets of things that exist and things that can be interacted with need ...
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2 votes
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What is Wittgenstein referring to in 4.113

The so-called Demarcation Problem is a little bit later, emerging with Vienna Circle and Popper. But its origins are in the Tractatus : 4.03 A proposition communicates a situation to us, and so it ...
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2 votes

How could Occam's razor possibly be used metaphysically?

Let me point out, first, that Occam's Razor is not a law; it's a rule-of-thumb that has more to do with pragmatics and aesthetics than necessity. It's a good rule of thumb, sure, but it is based on an ...
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2 votes

Occam's razor and the Multiverse Hypotesis

According to Wikipedia the association of Occam's razor to many worlds goes back to Hugh Everett who originated the idea of many worlds in 1957: Since the wavefunction merely appears to have ...
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