Occam’s Razor At Harewood House Medieval Faire

Amanda Lowe and Jill Fisher are ‘Occam’s Razor’ they play a a mixture of Medieval, Renaissance !8th and 19th Century tunes that they  have finely crafted into a unique and beguiling sound – the combination of violin and hammer dulcimer being unusual and delicate with a delightful underlying bit of welly and the potential to really fly.

What is Occam’s Razor?

Occam’s (or Ockham’s) razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. Ockham was the village in the English county of Surrey where he was born.

The principle states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” Sometimes it is quoted in one of its original Latin forms to give it an air of authenticity:

“Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate”
“Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora”
“Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”

In fact, only the first two of these forms appear in his surviving works and the third was written by a later scholar. William used the principle to justify many conclusions, including the statement that “God’s existence cannot be deduced by reason alone.” That one didn’t make him very popular with the Pope.

Many scientists have adopted or reinvented Occam’s Razor, as in Leibniz’s “identity of observables” and Isaac Newton stated the rule: “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.”

The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is
“when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”

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