Single Idea 7038

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

Full Idea

It could well turn out that a simpler theory - a theory with fewer fundamental principles - posits more entities than a more complex competitor.

Gist of Idea

A theory with few fundamental principles might still posit a lot of entities


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

See also Idea 4036. The point here is that you can't simply translate Ockham as 'keep it simple', as there are different types of simplicity. The best theory will negotiate a balance between entities and principles.

Related Idea

Idea 4036 What matters is not how many entities we postulate, but how many kinds of entities [Armstrong, by Mellor/Oliver]