Single Idea 7037

[catalogued under 2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor]

Full Idea

A commitment to parsimony is not a commitment to a conception of the world as simple. The idea, rather, is that we should not complicate our theories about the world unnecessarily.


'Parsimony' is meanness - keeping things basic

Gist of Idea

Parsimony does not imply the world is simple, but that our theories should try to be


John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 13.6)

Book Reference

Heil,John: 'From an Ontological Point of View' [OUP 2005], p.146

A Reaction

In other words, Ockham's Razor is about us, not about the world. It would be absurd to make the a priori assumption that the world has to be simple. Are we, though, creating bad theories by insisting that they should be simple?