Here’s The Thing About Occam’s Razor

I saw two abuses of Occam’s razor recently, though I don’t have the links, so I am just going to rage-post this.

Occam’s razor

Plurality is not to be posited without necessity

Misuses of Occam’s razor

  1. “This explanation is simplest, so by Occcam’s razor, it’s the best.”

    Occam’s razor DOES NOT SAY THAT THE SIMPLER EXPLANATION IS ALWAYS BETTER. It says that the simpler explanation that also explains all the observations is preferred.

  2. “This explanation is simpler and fits all the observations, so Occam’s razor proves it is correct.”

    Occam’s razor does not ever prove any argument. It suggests that we should “prefer” the simpler explanation. But since we cannot every know all the facts, then we cannot be certain we are overlooking a complicating factor.

That is all.


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