History and Philosophy of Physics

0908 Submissions

[2] viXra:0908.0074 [pdf] submitted on 20 Aug 2009

Ockham's Razor and its Improper Use

Authors: Dieter Gernert
Comments: 6 pages. Journal reference: Cognitive Systems, vol.7, nr. 2, 133-138 (2009)

"Ockham's razor" is a methodical principle, due to the medieval philosopher William of Ockham, who mainly opposed an unjustified creation of new terms in philosophy. Since this principle and its later versions are frequently quoted in discussions about anomalies, it will be studied here in some detail. After a short look on the historical roots, the principal modern formulations are summarized. It will be shown that a demand for "simplicity" cannot be generally maintained. Rather, striving for simplicity can conflict with other essentials of scientific method. Ockham's principle - no matter whether in its original or in a modified version - cannot be helpful in a rational decision between competing explanations for the same empirical facts. An incorrect use of Ockham's razor only leads to a perpetuation and corroboration of existing prejudice, and this principle should not be used to easily get rid of unwelcome data or concepts.
Category: History and Philosophy of Physics

[1] viXra:0908.0030 [pdf] submitted on 5 Aug 2009

Some Thoughts on Big Science

Authors: J W Cahill
Comments: 2 pages

Original insights for the most part emanate from the minds of single individuals. Consequently, institutions, no matter how well funded, cannot expect to enjoy a monopoly on creativity. Hwever, the individual without institutional affiliation is most likely to be ignored. The situation is counterproductive to scientific progress and the world economy. This article recounts one person's experience and offers a potential solution.
Category: History and Philosophy of Physics