Occam’s razor

/Tag:Occam's razor

"Understanding" and Occam's razor


At the beginning of the 20th century, the physicists Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein both concluded independently that measurements of light speed would be the same for all observers. But while both arrived at the same results from their equations, Lorentz’s explanation relied on changes that take place in ‘the ether’. Because Einstein's paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies made no reference to a mysterious, undetectable substance, his explanation was accepted as being the most likely. Even after Einstein's theory of special relativity had been accepted, Lorentz wasn't willing to let go of his belief in 'luminiferous aether'. In 1909 he wrote, "Yet, I think, something may also [...]

"Understanding" and Occam's razor 2017-06-24T09:39:08+00:00

Seven tools for thinking #5 Occam’s razor


All things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the best one. William of Ockham You've probably heard the old adage that if you hear the pounding of hooves echoing through the Wiltshire countryside you shouldn't assume a herd of zebras is on its way. The simplest explanation for a phenomenon is the likeliest and in this case you're probably safer to expect to see some horseflesh any moment. Of course, this isn't always the case. If you're on the African savannah then zebras are a more reasonable expectation. There are, of course, times when the simplest explanation won't turn out to be true, but it's a [...]

Seven tools for thinking #5 Occam’s razor 2016-06-09T13:01:21+00:00