What is Okkam`s razor?
“ Okkam`s Razor “ (The law of the sufficient basis) - the methodological principle which received the name by name the English monk - the Franciscan, the philosopher - the nominalist William Okkam (Ockham, Ockam, Occam; apprx. 1285 - 1349), in the simplified look saying: “ It is not necessary to multiply real needlessly “ (or “ It is not necessary to attract new entities without the most extreme on that need “) . This principle forms the basis of a methodological reductionism which is also called by the principle of thrift, or the law of economy.
In the " edition; Ockam. Philosophical Writings. A Selection Edited and Translated by hilotheus Boehner “ (New York, 1957) the expert in history of medieval philosophy Filoteus Bener reports that most often “ Okkam`s Razor “ it is given by the author in such formulation: “ Needlessly it is not necessary to approve a lot of things “ (Latin Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate). More definitely Okkam was expressed so: “ … plurality never should be believed needlessly … [but] everything that can be explained from distinction of matters on a number of the bases, - same it can be explained equally well or even better by means of one basis “.
Sometimes the principle is expressed in the words “ What can be explained by means of smaller should not be expressed by means of bigger “ (Latin Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora). At the same time the formulation which is usually provided by historians “ entities should not be multiplied needlessly “ (Latin Entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necessitate) in Okkam`s works does not meet.
However what is called “ Okkam`s Razor “ it was not formulated by Okkam, he only voiced the principle known since the time of Aristotle and in logic carrying the name “ law of the sufficient basis “.
• Among the most known examples of application of this principle serves the answer which the creator of the first theory of emergence of Solar system of mathematics and physicist Laplace gave to the emperor Napoleon. Napoleon, allegedly, asked (half in jest, it is half-serious): “ Something I do not see in your theory of the place for God “. What Laplace, allegedly, answered: “ Sir, I had no need in this hypothesis “.
• When Platon`s pupils asked to give definition of the person, the most great philosopher told: “ The Person is the animal about two legs deprived of feathers “. Having heard it, Diogenes caught a rooster, plucked it, and having brought in Academy, declared: “ Here there is a platonovsky person! “. Then Platon was forced to add to the definition: “ And with wide nails “.
• The principle reformulated in language of the theory of information “ Okkam`s razors “ says that the most exact message is the message of the minimum length.
( Material from Wikipedia - wikipedia. org / )
William Okkam (apprx. 1285 - 1349), the English philosopher and the theologian, the Franciscan monk. During training in Oxford entered the Franciscan order. After the end of training it is necessary to teach theology and philosophy in Oxford. Thanks to masterly possession of art of dialectics he got the nickname " from pupils; Doctor invincibilis “ (invincible Teacher).
As the political writer Okkam opposed an absolutism of church and temporal power; defended the principle “ evangelic poverty “ having anticipated in many respects ideas of the Reformation. In 1323 in connection with charge of heresy (for statements about a primacy of temporal power over the power of the father) the father Ioann XXII it was imprisoned in Avignon where was during 4 - x years. In 1328 he managed to run to Germany to the father`s enemy, the emperor Louis IV Bavarsqui to whom, according to the legend, told: “ Protect me a sword, and I will protect you a feather! “. It was excommunicated. Having located in Munich, Okkam remained to the death there.
( On the materials “ Big Soviet Encyclopedia “ and “ Kirill and Mefodiy`s Big Encyclopedia “ )
Okkam held the opinion that “ the elementary explanations - the best “. Simply sense “ Okkam`s razors “ sometimes explain so: in any theory (a hypothesis, a reasoning) it is necessary to avoid creation of new concepts, terms, definitions, etc. of entities if it is possible to do without them. Why razor? Because cuts off superfluous!
Except philosophers, Okkam`s razor is remembered sometimes by poets and writers, for example, brothers Strugatsky mention it in the novels “ The Bug in an ant hill “ and “ Search of mission, or Twenty seventh theorem of ethics “. In Dan Brown`s novel “ Deception Point “ such treatment " is given; Okkam`s razors “ (“ law of economy “): “ In case there are many explanations of any problem, correct usually is the elementary “.
Let`s not to multiply entities without emergency!