Occam’s Razor

History of Occam’s Razor

William of Ockham (also spelled Occam) was a Franciscan theologian born in Surrey, England, around 1285. He studied at Oxford and later at Paris. His philosophical views made him a polemic scholar. He died in Munich, Germany, around 1349.

Although the general idea of the preference for simplicity is attributed to William of Ockham, there are some precedents. Some writings by Duns Scoto, Ockham’s teacher, mention similar principles. A french Dominican named Durand de Saint-Pourcain used this idea before. Even earlier, Aristotle made statements such as “nature operates in the shortest way possible”, “the more limited, if adequate, is always preferable”, and “if the consequences are the same it is always better to assume the more limited antecedent”.

In the history of Science we find the principle has often been cited to argue in favor of one theory over others. It has played an especially successful role in physics. One example is the preference for Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation over Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. Although both theories made essentially the same predictions about the motions of the planets, Newton’s law is simpler and more general, requiring fewer assumptions, and was hence preferred. Newton’s theory was later empirically confirmed when its predictions led to the discovery of the planet Neptune.

An earlier application of Occam’s Razor, also in astronomy, was the controversy between heliocentric and geocentric models of the solar system. Ptolemy explained the observed movement of the stars using a rather complex model with the Earth in the center, and the planets orbiting around invisible spheres which themselves were orbiting around the Earth. Aristarco of Samos in Greece, and later Copernicus, convincingly argued for a simpler model in which the sun is in the center and the planets orbit around it.

Terrible Beauty

If there is a heart, it is not subject to free will, but rather is a book that can’t be put down, a song running through your head, a train on a track to certain disaster and all you can do is stand back and wait and watch and steel yourself against the coming crash, the inevitable implosion, the waiting disaster…when you wake again, cold and alone you are somehow never worse for the wear…soft and sweet as a child, as tender as a woman and just as mercenary,plays you for the fool yet again, promises the moon and the stars when all you asked for was the night, gives you only the cold light of day and then swears no promises were ever made. When you never asked for anything at all how is it then that you can end up with less than you expected?

Lyrics Of The Day:

(The Cure,off Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me…)

“How Beautiful You Are”

You want to know why I hate you?

Well I’ll try and explain…

You remember that day in paris

When we wandered through the rain

And promised to each other

That we’d always think the same

And dreamed that dream

To be two souls as one

And stopped just as the sun set

And waited for the night

Outside a glittering building

Of glittering glass and burning light…

And in the road before us

Stood a weary greyish man

Who held a child upon his back

A small boy by the hand

The three of them were dressed in rags

And thinner than the air

And all six eyes stared fixedly on you

The father’s eyes said ’beautiful!

How beautiful you are!’

The boy’s eyes said

’how beautiful!

She shimmers like a star!’

The childs eyes uttered nothing

But a mute and utter joy

And filled my heart with shame for us

At the way we are

I turned to look at you

To read my thoughts upon your face

And gazed so deep into your eyes

So beautiful and strange

Until you spoke

And showed me understanding is a dream

’i hate these people staring

Make them go away from me!’

The fathers eyes said ’beautiful!

How beautiful you are!’

The boys eyes said

’how beautiful! she glitters like a star!’

The child’s eyes uttered joy

And stilled my heart with sadness

For the way we are

And this is why I hate you

And how I understand

That no-one ever knows or loves another

Or loves another

Available White Female In Search Of A Deity…

Wanted: some sort of divine being or pantheon or mythical entity I can invoke to solve my immediate concerns just to the degree that I can cope with them and reverse my sour luck. Vengeful Father Gods and crucified martyrs need not apply. The proper candidate will enjoy my songs and praises and libations as well as some good word of mouth on my various blogs and maybe a statuette or a tattoo or something. Don’t be shy. Do my bidding. Gender or species unimportant. I am an equal oppurtunity petitioner. No animal sacrifices or head shaving requirements, please. Requiring a vow of silence is probably unwise. Bonus points for religions involving temple prostitutes, feasting on roasted lamb and/or genourous imbibing of wine. I do still like to have my occasional reverie…