Occam's razor

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Related to Parsimonious explanation: law of parsimony, Parsimony Principle

Oc·cam's razor

Variant of Ockham's razor.

Occam's razor

(Philosophy) a variant spelling of Ockham's razor

Oc′cam's ra′zor

the principle in philosophy and science that assumptions introduced to explain a thing must not be multiplied beyond necessity, and hence the simplest of several hypotheses is always the best in accounting for unexplained facts.
Also called law of parsimony.
[1835–40; after William of Occam]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Occam's Razor - the principle that entities should not be multiplied needlessly; the simplest of two competing theories is to be preferred
principle, rule - a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system; "the principle of the conservation of mass"; "the principle of jet propulsion"; "the right-hand rule for inductive fields"
References in periodicals archive ?
Other sapient species may indeed be out there, but the most parsimonious explanation for all the UFO encounters since Roswell is not that our nuclear testing or space program finally inspired the galaxy to come see what humanity is all about.
Likewise, this focus means that the most parsimonious explanation for which states are in the TPP and which ones are out is not canvassed while more tenuous Chinese arguments about the TPP being part of an American attempt to isolate China in the region are presented uncritically.
1-4) Previously, we have criticized these explanations and we have proposed a more parsimonious explanation for human consanguinity, (5) i.
The most parsimonious explanation, therefore, is that coral populations that bleached during the last major warming event in 1998 have adapted and/or acclimatised to thermal stress.
We believe that ship transport is the most plausible and parsimonious explanation for the observation.
One can indeed raise some critical concern about the use of parsimonious explanation models, which is vehemently stressed in empiricist methods of enquiry.
Cholesterol concentration provided the most parsimonious explanation of the hyperlipidemia prevalence at high elevation, but cholesterol + glucose, triglycerides + cholesterol, and glucose + triglycerides + cholesterol interactions also provided significant explanations for the hyperlipidemia phenomenon in the assessed population.
Thus, Schaede's specific commitment to firm-level analysis and her heavy emphasis on crisis as the opening for reform (indeed, as the "critical inflection point" between 1998 and 2006) might provide heightened clarity and a more parsimonious explanation of Japan's economic reform period relative to Vogel's account.
However, the readers are left to wonder the author's conclusion as to the validity of these hypotheses, when she evades the issue in the concluding chapter by merely stating that "the challenge of providing a theory-driven, parsimonious explanation for foreign policy decisions in the CFSP/ESDP context remains for others to explore" (p 170).
The most parsimonious explanation is usually the first port of call, and regular, continuous and low-magnitude processes usually provide the most satisfactory explanation for environmental condition and change.
Nevertheless, the point of this example is to show that the phrasing of the question, as an additional source of stimulus control, can influence success or failure on the false belief test and, therefore, may offer a more parsimonious explanation of the performances of some subjects.