The fatal nicks in Occam's Razor

Peter R Newman see.my at web.pages
Wed Apr 15 04:01:18 EST 1998


Lee Merkel wrote:
> 
> SW wrote:
> 
> > Occam's Razor is merely the way any problem or mystery should be
> > approached. With common sense logic and without a vested interest in
> > what the solution 'should' be.
> >
> > Stephen Walsh
> 
>  Inherent in Occam's razor is the fact that it WILL be wrong
>  with a varying ratio, depending on the nature of the subject
>  being studied.

Only if you take the extreme view.  The last word of Occam's Razor is
important:

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. 

Or the last three words in the English translation: "Entities should not
be multiplied more than necessary".  It's not "take the least number of
entities", it's "take the least number of *necessary* entities."

Pete
(With thanks to http://burks.bton.ac.uk/burks/foldoc/89/64.htm for the
original and HotBot for finding it quickly).
-- 
http://sa1.star.uclan.ac.uk/~prn
Happy is he who has been able to learn the causes of things - Virgil



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