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ACM Opinion

As Science Advances, Does Ockham's Razor Still Apply?

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As Science Advances, Does Ockham's Razor Still Apply?

The preservation of Ockham's Razor over the centuries may be due to its own internal simplicity. Simply by uttering the phrase "Ockham's Razor," it is possible to challenge everything from an interpretation of a new physics experiment, to the explanation

Ockham's Razor, the 13th century concept asserting that if two models equally explain a scenario, the simpler of the two is more likely, has been applied and contested for 700 years. Yet, the boundaries of science have expanded into the territories of quantum mechanics, human behavior, and artificial intelligence—complicated fields, where simplicity may not always apply. To that, one might reasonably ask if it is still a useful principle when it comes to science.

In other words: Is the Razor still sharp?

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