Taken From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on September 1, 2016
Andreas Cellarius’s illustration of the Copernican system, from the Harmonia Macrocosmica (1660). The motions of the sun, moon and other solar system planets can be calculated using a geocentric model (the earth is at the centre) or using a heliocentric model (the sun is at the centre). Both work, but the geocentric system requires many more assumptions than the heliocentric system, which has only seven. This was pointed out in a preface to Copernicus’ first edition of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.
Occam’s razor (also written as Ockham’s razor, and lex parsimoniae in Latin, which means law of parsimony) is a problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher and theologian. The principle can be interpreted as stating Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
In science, Occam’s razor is used as a heuristic technique (discovery tool) to guide scientists in the development of theoretical models, rather than as an arbiter between published models. In the scientific method, Occam’s razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives, because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified; therefore, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable.