The fatal nicks in Occam's Razor

Etherman etherman at
Fri Apr 17 16:43:54 EST 1998

John M Price wrote in message <353643cc.0 at calwebnnrp>...
>And history is a humanities, not a science.
>And you still fail to grasp the concept of necessity.  Of course, your
>straw Occham is a lot simpler than the real one, so I can understand your

One problem I see is as follows: How do you know what's necessary?

Sure, we can think of trivial examples that look something like this:
X or X plus some untestable hypothesis.  Obviously the former is
favored because the untestable hypothesis is unnecessary. But
what if you have two theories that come at the same phenomena
from completely different directions? Perhaps they both have
the same number of hypotheses, so the doctrine of "use only
what's necessary" isn't of any use.

Other criteria would have to be introduced.  For example, how
well do the theories fit with the rest of science? I would also think
that a theory that can be generalized easier would also be preferred.


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etherman at

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