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In philosophy, Occam's razor (also spelled Ockham's razor or Ocham's razor; Latin: novacula Occami) is the problem-solving principle that recommends searching for explanations constructed with the smallest possible set of elements. It is also known as the principle of parsimony or the law of parsimony (Latin: lex parsimoniae). Attributed to William of Ockham, a 14th-century English philosopher and theologian, it is frequently cited as Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, which translates as "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity", although Occam never used these exact words. Popularly, the principle is sometimes inaccurately paraphrased as "The simplest explanation is usually the best one."
This philosophical razor advocates that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction and both theories have equal explanatory power one should prefer the hypothesis that requires the fewest assumptions and that this is not meant to be a way of choosing between hypotheses that make different predictions. Similarly, in science, Occam's razor is used as an abductive heuristic in the development of theoretical models rather than as a rigorous arbiter between candidate models.
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