Occam's razor


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Oc·cam's ra·zor

(ŏk'imz rā'zŏrh),
The principle of scientific parsimony. William of Occam (ca. 1282-1340) stated it thus: "The assumptions introduced to explain a thing must not be multiplied beyond necessity."
The simplest expression of scientific truth; where 2 theories exist to explain a similar phenomenon, the one making the fewest assumptions should prevail—i.e., it should be no more complicated than necessary. In keeping with Occam’s razor, generalisations should be based on observed facts and not on other generalisations

Occam's razor

A principle in science and philosophy, much applied in medicine, that one should try to account for an observed phenomenon in the simplest possible way and should not look for multiply explanations of its different aspects. For instance, a range of symptoms and signs occurring together should always, if possible, be attributed to a single disease rather than to several different diseases occurring simultaneously. (William of Occam, ca. 1290–1349, English philosopher).

Occam's razor

see OCKHAM'S RAZOR.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Occam's Razor principle dictates that the simplest of competing theories should be chosen.
The Franciscan Friar William of Occam said it best about 700 years ago in the form of the principle of parsimony, which we now know as Occam's Razor.
My mind began racing through our long and messy "Landing Gear Handle Down Indicates Unsafe" checklist when our pilot used Occam's razor to determine his next course of action.
Sumida believes that Clausewitz's method is obscured by his use of inaccurate nomenclature and using the term "critical analysis" rather than "historical reenactment." On this point, one might do well to apply a version of Occam's razor that the simplest explanation is the best and that perhaps Clausewitz used the term "critical analysis" because that is what he meant to say.
Moreover, it embodies Occam's razor, which states that "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity".
The second possibility, which I think is much more likely, is that we don't really have Occam's razor [see note 1].
Occam's razor would suggest this is quite possible, and it seems more consistent with recent American eating and sleeping habits.
In particular, Occam's razor, the principle named after William of Occam, a 14th-century philosopher, does not apply in this setting.
But hey, let's follow the example of the DJs, and apply Occam's Razor for a moment.
Occam's razor says, if it seems like there is mocking:
Of course, Occam's razor would suggest that men and women are exaggerating and downplaying their bedpost notches, respectively.
Lean is the ultimate application of Occam's Razor: "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem," which is paraphrased as "All things being equal, the best solution is the simplest one." In other words, Lean forces you to Keep It Simple, Stupid.