Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor is a principle that states that the simplest explanation for a phenomenon is usually the best. The name comes from the 14th-century philosopher and theologian William of Ockham, who advocated for avoiding unnecessary assumptions and complexities in reasoning. It is often used to eliminate unnecessary assumptions or hypotheses in science, logic, and problem-solving. Here are some examples of Occam’s Razor in action:

  • When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras. This means that the most common or likely cause of something is more probable than a rare or exotic one.
  • If two competing theories explain the same facts equally well, choose the one that makes fewer assumptions. This is also known as the principle of parsimony or simplicity.
  • If you have a headache, it is more likely that you are dehydrated or stressed than that you have a brain tumor. This means that you should not jump to extreme conclusions without sufficient evidence.

4 thoughts on “Occam’s Razor

  1. shinichi Post author

    (Google translate)

    オッカムの剃刀(Occam’s Razor)は「通常は、現象の最もシンプルな説明が。ベストである」という原則です。 この名前は、14 世紀の哲学者で神学者のウィリアム オブ オッカムに由来します。 科学、論理、問題解決において不要な仮定や仮説を排除するためによく使用されます。オッカムの剃刀の例には、次のようなものがあります。

    • 蹄の音を聞いたら、シマウマではなく馬を思い浮かべる。これは、何かの最も一般的または可能性の高い原因が、まれなまたは特殊な原因よりも可能性が高いことを意味します.
    • 競合する 2 つの理論が同じ事実を同等に説明している場合は、仮定の少ない方を選択する。これは、倹約または簡素化の原則としても知られています。
    • 頭痛がある場合は、脳腫瘍よりも脱水やストレスが原因である可能性が高い。これは、十分な証拠なしに極端な結論に飛びつくべきではないことを意味します。
  2. shinichi Post author

    Life Is Simple: How Occam’s Razor Set Science Free and Shapes the Universe

    by Johnjoe McFadden

    A biologist argues that simplicity is the guiding principle of the universe

    Centuries ago, the principle of Ockham’s razor changed our world by showing simpler answers to be preferable and more often true. In Life Is Simple, scientist Johnjoe McFadden traces centuries of discoveries, taking us from a geocentric cosmos to quantum mechanics and DNA, arguing that simplicity has revealed profound answers to the greatest mysteries. This is no coincidence. From the laws that keep a ball in motion to those that govern evolution, simplicity, he claims, has shaped the universe itself. And in McFadden’s view, life could only have emerged by embracing maximal simplicity, making the fundamental law of the universe a cosmic form of natural selection that favors survival of the simplest. Recasting both the history of science and our universe’s origins, McFadden transforms our understanding of ourselves and our world.

  3. shinichi Post author

    世界はシンプルなほど正しい 「オッカムの剃刀」はいかに今日の科学をつくったか

    ジョンジョー・マクファデン (著), 水谷 淳 (翻訳)



  4. shinichi Post author

    iPadやiPhoneは、前面にボタンが一つしかないシンプルなデザインである。これは、Occam’s Razorに基づいたスティーブ・ジョブズの哲学の反映である。


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