Why Occam is Important

Monday, 31 December 2007

[Picture of William of Occam]ALBERT Einstein is credited with saying:

‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler’.

This is often presented as “K.I.S.S. — or Keep It Simple, Stupid”. The idea of keeping things as simple as necessary is very often accredited to a Franciscan monk from back in the 1300s — a chap called William from the English town of Occam (or Ockham) in Surrey.

William of Occam did indeed come up with a law of succinctness (parsimony) — but is this lex parsimoniae the same thing as advocating simplicity? Read the rest of this entry »