Rather, the claim is that simplicity should actually be one of the key criteria that we use to evaluate which of a set of rival theories is, in fact, the best theory, given the available evidence: other things being equal, the simplest theory consistent with the data is the best one. Though it is now most commonly associated with the 14 century philosopher, William of Ockham (also spelt “Occam”), whose name is attached to the famous methodological maxim known as “Ockham’s razor”, which is often interpreted as enjoining us to prefer the simplest theory consistent with the available evidence, it can be traced at least as far back as Aristotle.In his , Aristotle argued that nothing in nature was done in vain and nothing was superfluous, so our theories of nature should be as simple as possible.Tags: Engineering Assignment HelpDo Animals Have Feelings EssayApa Citation Dissertation PublishedDissertation Editor University PhoenixCorporate Strategy AssignmentVolunteering At A Hospital EssayOf A Reference Page For A Research PaperEssay About MesopotamiaLayout Of Research ProposalEssay About Culture And Foreign Language Acquisition
A recent issue of the , for instance, contained the advice that “[u]nfortunately, many people perceive criminal acts as more complex than they really are…
the least complicated explanation of an event is usually the correct one” (Rothwell, 2006, p24).
Finally, Section 4 surveys the wide variety of attempts that have been made to justify the practice of choosing between rival theories on grounds of simplicity.
There are many ways in which simplicity might be regarded as a desirable feature of scientific theories.
The eminent biologist Francis Crick once complained, “[w]hile Occam’s razor is a useful tool in physics, it can be a very dangerous implement in biology.
The Deterministic Thesis Is Defended By ____
It is thus very rash to use simplicity and elegance as a guide in biological research” (Crick, 1988, p138).
Crick, for instance, seemed to think that such an assumption could make no sense in biology, given the patent complexity of the biological world.
In contrast, some advocates of simplicity have argued that a preference for simple theories need not necessarily assume a simple world—for instance, even if nature is demonstrably complex in an ontological sense, we should still prefer comparatively simple for nature’s complexity.
It seems to be explicitly ingrained into many scientific methods—for instance, standard statistical methods of data analysis (Section 1d).
It has also spread far beyond philosophy and the natural sciences.