Occam's Razor

It was circa 2002 or 2003. At a lecture in my third year of engineering studies, my teacher remarked - If the answer is not simple, it is not an answer

Since then, the thought has been firmly etched in my mind.

I came across this phrase - Occam's Razor - a week back. Exploring about it a bit on the internet, I could understand its close co relation with my teacher's advice more than a decade back.

What is Occam's Razor? 

Wiki says - Occam's razor is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in problem-solving. It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Occam based his theory on two underlying principles.

The Principle of Plurality

~ Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate.

~ Plurality should not be posited without necessity.

The Principle of Economy

~ Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora.

~ It is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer.

The theory is extremely profound. (The lesser I say about it, the better. Occam's Razor at work !)

It would be apt to note that Occam's Razor found support from Aristotle, who remarked "The more perfect a nature is, the fewer means it requires for its operation".

Thomas Aquinas put across his point stating "If a thing can be done adequately by means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several; for we observe that nature does not employ two instruments [if] one suffices."

I am sure, if we apply this principle of Occam's Razor in many spheres of our lives, it would yield great results.

Give it a thought when you have to solve a real world problem next time.

The Frozen Niagara Falls
The Frozen Niagara Falls
P.S. Why did the Niagara Falls freeze? Because it was very cold. 

P.S.2 And yes, if you are not interested in following the Occam's Razor, you can always blame the frozen falls on Global Warming, The Deep Freeze etc etc.

Occam's Razor Occam's Razor Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Monday, March 17, 2014 Rating: 5

No comments: