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 Define Ockham's Razor

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PostSubject: Define Ockham's Razor   Mon 17 May 2010, 9:39 am

Ockham's razor or Occam's razor

PRONUNCIATION:
(OK-ehmz RAY-zuhr) MEANING:
noun: The maxim that the simplest of explanations is more likely to be correct.

ETYMOLOGY:
After William of Ockham (c. 1288-1348), a logician and theologian, who is credited with the idea.

NOTES: Ockham's razor states that "entities should not be multiplied needlessly". It's also called the principle of parsimony. It's the idea that other things being equal, among two theories the simpler one is preferable. Why razor? Because Ockham's razor shaves away unnecessary assumptions. Ockham's razor has applications in fields as diverse as medicine, religion, crime, and literature. Medical students are told, for example, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

USAGE:
"But not everyone in Washington is a believer in Occam's razor, so all manner of other theories flourished."
A DC Whodunit: Who Leaked And Why?; Reuters (UK); Sep 22, 2009.
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