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.