Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Occam's razor

Todays Word of the Day for Webster Dictionary. I started to subscribe to this offering as a way to help expand my vocabulary. My problem seems to be retention, but overall i will say that it has worked a little - given the level of effort that i have put into it I would say that it is probably comparable.

Todays Word is Occam's razor \AH-kumz-RAY-zer\
a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities.

Example Sentence
Invoking Occam's razor, Eli concluded that the sill was wet because someone had left the window open during the storm.

Did you know?
William of Occam (also spelled "Ockham") didn't invent the rule associated with his name. Others had espoused the "keep it simple" concept before that 14th-century philosopher and theologian embraced it, but no one wielded the principle (also known as the “law of parsimony”) as relentlessly as he did. He used it to counter what he considered the fuzzy logic of his theological contemporaries, and his applications of it inspired 19th-century Scottish philosopher Sir William Hamilton to link “Occam” with the idea of cutting away extraneous material, giving us the modern name for the principle.

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