# occam's razor

Principle established by the logician William of Ockham in the 14th century. Like the Principle of Parsimony, this theory states that one should not make unnecessary assumptions and that the answer to a problem is often the simplest. It is the basis of methodological reductionalism and applications of its principles are commonly used in modern strategy and economics. *also "ockham's razor"
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.
by sug-almighty June 27, 2005
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# occam's razor

The simplest answer is usually the correct one.
"I don't know... he said he went to see an ex-girlfriend but it was with her brother and some other friends. And the viagra he took from a friend that night was because he MIGHT use it with me at some point and not with the girl. And he only told his friend to lie about him going there because I was stressed out about stuff... Wait? Do you think he cheated on me?"

"Girlfriend.... Occam's Razor."
by WidowMaker_619 November 26, 2016
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# Occam's razor

Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam's razor helps us to "shave off" those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.

Though the principle may seem rather trivial, it is essential for model building because of what is known as the "underdetermination of theories by data". For a given set of observations or data, there is always an infinite number of possible models explaining those same data. This is because a model normally represents an infinite number of possible cases, of which the observed cases are only a finite subset. The non-observed cases are inferred by postulating general rules covering both actual and potential observations.

For example, through two data points in a diagram you can always draw a straight line, and induce that all further observations will lie on that line. However, you could also draw an infinite variety of the most complicated curves passing through those same two points, and these curves would fit the empirical data just as well. Only Occam's razor would in this case guide you in choosing the "straight" (i.e. linear) relation as best candidate model. A similar reasoning can be made for n data points lying in any kind of distribution.

Occam's razor is especially important for universal models such as the ones developed in General Systems Theory, mathematics or philosophy, because there the subject domain is of an unlimited complexity. If one starts with too complicated foundations for a theory that potentially encompasses the universe, the chances of getting any manageable model are very slim indeed. Moreover, the principle is sometimes the only remaining guideline when entering domains of such a high level of abstraction that no concrete tests or observations can decide between rival models. In mathematical modelling of systems, the principle can be made more concrete in the form of the principle of uncertainty maximization: from your data, induce that model which minimizes the number of additional assumptions.

This principle is part of epistemology, and can be motivated by the requirement of maximal simplicity of cognitive models. However, its significance might be extended to metaphysics if it is interpreted as saying that simpler models are more likely to be correct than complex ones, in other words, that "nature" prefers simplicity.
One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything
by onomiyaki June 29, 2005
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# Occams razor

Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the medieval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). His principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony.
According to Occams razor, the simplest answer is usually the correct answer.
by Le Christophe February 7, 2006
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# Occams razor

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" or "plurality should not be posited without necessity."

One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything,
1) Occams razor theory one says "Ugly people should not reproduce."

2) Occams razor theory two says "No good deed shall go unpunished."

3) Occams razor theory three says "Keep it Simple, Stupid."

4) Occams razor theory four says "If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then...."
by Wayne Gombar February 6, 2006
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# Occam’s Razor

1. A philosophical shortcut where the simplest possible explanation is the most likely

2. The only razor that makes shaving my face fun
Dude 1: Do you think she’s part of the Russian mafia and is trying to lure me in with her unbearably cute face and angelic voice?
Dude 2: Occam’s Razor my guy. She’s probably just flirting with you because she thinks you’re cute.
Dude 1: Impossible.
Dude 2: Not according to Occam’s Razor.
by True_Lust July 22, 2019
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# Anti-Occam's Razor

Interpreting a statement or story to be the most complex or unlikely situation possible. Or, your comprehension is the opposite of the most likely explanation for something you hear or read. This often happens with statements that have one or more homonyms.
I had an Anti-Occam's Razor moment after reading the news headline, "50 million blinds recalled" when I thought of a huge population of blind people being remembered.
by Moneek July 5, 2013
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