The philosophy of Ockham’s Razor

This is a world characterized by complexity and an overabundance of information. Therefore, the search for clear, simple and concise explanations becomes an essential task. That is why it is convenient for us to remember the philosophy of Ockham’s Razor.
It is a current of thought that began in the 14th century at the hands of a monk named William of Ockham. He states that, when faced with various reasonings being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the most probable. This idea is currently known as Ockham’s Razor philosophy. It is a philosophical tool with a transformative power in the way in which the understanding of one’s own reality is approached. He teaches that truth is often found in simplicity. To understand reality, sometimes it is convenient to simplify it first.

The philosophy of Ockham's Razor serves us in today's times.
The philosophy of Ockham’s Razor serves us in today’s times.

Table of Contents

Anti Plato

It acquired the title of the “Razor”, referring to how Okcham shaved Plato’s beard with it. She contrasted the simple philosophy of Ockham and the entity-laden thoughts of Plato. They are summarized in something simple. What to do when there are multiple explanations for the same phenomenon or problem? The simplest explanation will generally be the most likely. This does not mean that it will always be correct. But he suggests considering more complex reasoning only if it is essential.
Imagine that you discover the appearance of colored lights in the sky. What is the simplest explanation? You might think of alien spaceships or an unknown atmospheric phenomenon. Or, simply, a fireworks display. Ockham’s Razor would then advise you to consider the simplest explanation. It is the one that would not need the introduction of more complex or unknown concepts.

It reminds us that we do not always need to look for the most unusual answers to a problem or phenomenon.
It reminds us that we do not always need to look for the most unusual answers to a problem or phenomenon.


That thinking is applied in scientific research. There it is known as the principle of parsimony. The clearest example of this approach in the field of biology is in Darwin’s theory of evolution. The principle of parsimony makes the theory of intelligent design, which would postulate the existence of a divine creator, unlikely. Because? Because it requires the emergence of more entities and much more complex assumptions. And therefore, much less likely.
Okham would probably have the hardest time these days. But remembering it helps us to know that, sometimes, it is not necessary to look for things to the cat.

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