29 December, 2005

Occam’s Razor

Often invoked but not always understood, it can be thought of as;

‘A tool that can be used to critically examine anything’

William of Ockham

Oxford educated, opinionated and not shy about expressing them, enough so that he was denied his Master’s degree by pissing off the theological faculty. His teachings came to the attention of the Pope (John XXII who held court in Avignion France) whom he further irritated by sparking controversy on apostolic poverty, necessitating a hasty relocation to the protection of Emperor Louis IV (the Bavarian) in Munich where he continued to publish treatises against papal power and in favor of civil sovereignty.

It is believed that he was a victim of the Black Death about 1394

His name, Germanized as Occam can be found in the streets of Munich and as a basic rule of critical thinking

The rule of parsimony, or principle of economy as used by William was stated;

‘Purality should not be assumed without necessity’

Or, 'the simpler explanation is preferred' - in the modern vernacular 'The KISS principal' as in, Keep it Simple, Stupid.

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