6 Answers

  1. Unfortunately, when discussing such issues, people often fall into meaningless theorizing. And this principle is formulated for very specific application purposes: situations where you need to quickly make a practical decision in the face of a shortage of source data.�

    Since there are most such situations in life, this principle is very effective. If you are not able to quickly and accurately identify two or three possible main components of the situation, and do not “cut off” everything else with this razor, you will find yourself in the situation of Buridan's donkey and starve to death )�

    This principle and its effect are very well played out by Pelevin in the “Zenith codes of Al-Efesbi” – when cluttering the system with excessive input data that is indirectly related to the subject, or does not have it at all, reduces its effectiveness up to its self-destruction) �

    So this principle works everywhere and always. Another thing is that we should distinguish between situations when there is time and a real need for a detailed analysis, and when, in the words of Colonel Burdun,“Maybe we should just hit them with a howitzer.”(C) “Election Day”

  2. Occam's razor doesn't work anywhere. This can be seen from the examples that have already been given here and will be given again. If you use it this way, you will miss the real reasons for so many events, including in your own life. Do you know why? First of all, because almost no one thinks about the meaning of this very “razor”. “Do not multiply entities unnecessarily.” What is the need? Who or what makes this necessary? Occam himself, for example, advised to limit himself to what is written in the Bible, and everything else was already “beyond necessity”for him. And what is this necessity for you?

    Or, for example, should we assume that Occam's razor isn't actually Occam's? Is there a need to add the essence of some other author of this methodological technique? If you do not see such a need, then I hasten to disappoint you: there is no formulation of this principle in Occam's works. Its original author is another medieval scholar, Pierre d'orsogne. How is it that his invention was given a false name? I don't know, but it was ironic. What does the talking razor tell us about this?

  3. Such examples include a small cart.�

    Occam's razor only works in practical science.�

    If something can be explained by the influence of one factor, why take into account some additional factor? The first one explains it completely, so you don't need to search for an additional one, ignore it, or cut it off with a razor.

    As you can see, this is only the principle of saving money. If you can get the result by working with the first factor, then it is enough.�

    But if we are interested, for example, in history, and not in physics, then the economical explanation is not always correct.

    You saw a man fall out of the window. An economical explanation with a razor would be – the person himself fell out of the window. Maybe someone talked him into jumping. Maybe it fell out on its own, but it was drugged. All this is important for understanding the story. And for a physical description, it doesn't matter if his body worked in any way, what his friends or squirrels whispered to him-it doesn't matter.

  4. Occam's razor does not work where it is used illiterate and not for its intended purpose.

    Let's say that a certain phenomenon has two possible explanations:

    • the first implies the action of entities A, B, C

    • the second implies the action of entities A, B, C, D

    These are two different sets of entities. And the first is entirely part of the second.

    The principle says that without the entity D, we can do without losing anything. We discard it and get A, B, C — the first explanation.

    This does not mean that the D entity is missing. This means that a person can use a simpler model to explain the observed phenomenon.

    And how is this principle applied in folk art?

    There is a certain phenomenon —for example, biological evolution. This phenomenon has two different explanations —for example, materialistic and religious.

    The materialist uses the entities A, B, C, and D.

    A religious person uses the entities A, B, C, and E.

    These are two different sets of entities. They have common elements, but none of them is part of the other.

    When it comes to Occam's razor, it is incorrectly applied to essence D (for example, deliberately blind creative processes), then to essence E (for example, deliberately intelligent design), trying to discard one or the other.

    Why is it incorrect? Because if you discard D or E, you are left with the set A, B, C, which does not correspond to any of the proposed explanations and is incomplete as a model.

    Moreover, any party can appeal to Occam's razor as a means to refute entities D and E, while this is just an analytical tool that does not give any knowledge of reality.

  5. Keep in mind that Occam's Razor principle is not an axiom or an immutable rule. This is just a so-called maxim based on logic, common sense, and frequently occurring patterns.

    Occam's Razor principle is not a universal method that works under all life circumstances. Unfortunately, it has its drawbacks:

    1. Subjectivity. The opinions of different people about what is considered simple or complex may not coincide.

    2. A simple solution is not always the right one. It often happens that the situation or problem being solved turns out to be more complex and confusing than it seems at first glance.�

    3. Limited application capability. Occam's Razor principle does not work when solving complex scientific and philosophical problems.

    The benefits of properly applying the Occam Razor principle can be very tangible, but only if it is applied in appropriate cases. It will help you find a simple and, at the same time, accurate and logical explanation of many life situations related to everyday life or interpersonal relationships.

  6. In short , it looks like it didn't work in the physical “string theory”.�

    If slightly longer: Occam's razor “don't multiply entities unnecessarily” has worked well for quite some time (and is working well now). It should only be noted that its interpretation has changed over time.

    Initially, Occam himself justified the existence of God to her: “if the only hypothesis of the existence of God explains everything, then why do you need others”, today it has turned into a philosophical principle of “beauty and conciseness of theory”. From two theories that explain the observed phenomena equally well, one should choose the one with fewer free parameters (the one that is shorter).
    Sergey Petrovich Kapitsa once said on a similar occasion: “give me 4 free parameters and I will draw an elephant, give me 5 free parameters and it will swing its trunk” – meaning that you can make a “fit” for any theory by introducing some corrections and additional coefficients (but most likely these fits will simply mask your mistake in understanding).

    Now about string theory.
    When it was created, the Standard Model (of elementary particles) already had a large number of free parameters (*I will quote the Wiki below). One of the driving forces behind String Theory was Occam's Razor , a desire to reduce the number of free parameters.
    Unfortunately, for almost half a century, string theory has lost its beauty and conciseness, and it has developed its own free parameters.

    * ) External parameters of the standard model are:

    • the masses of leptons (3 parameters, neutrinos are assumed to be massless) and quarks (6 parameters), interpreted as constants of the interaction of their fields with the Higgs boson field,
    • parameters of the CKM quark mixing matrix — three mixing angles and one complex phase that violates CP symmetry – constants of the interaction of quarks with the electroweak field,
    • two parameters of the Higgs field that are uniquely related to its vacuum mean and the mass of the Higgs boson,
    • three interaction constants associated with the calibration groups U(1), SU(2), and SU(3), respectively, and characterizing the relative intensities of the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions.

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