Occam's Razor 

By on

Occam's Razor - to use it, not to use it or what is it?

Willam of Occom (1280 to 1285)

  • Nunquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate (Pluralities ought not be posited without necessity)
    - William of Occam, from Quaestiones et decisiones in quattuor libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi

What is Occam's Razor

  • We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.
    - Isaac Newton

Essentially, it is the idea that one should not believe something for which one has no evidence; or, alternatively, that of two ideas which explain the same evidence, the simpler idea is to be preferred.

Why Did I Write This

I was reminded of Occam's Razor while reading a book. It's quite a simple principal of logic which has stood the test of time and is accepted as central to scientific thought. Without thinking about it I quite often apply the principals of the razor in my day to day works and it has very rarely let's me down.  Ensuring you have evidence of what you are being told told and preferring simple over complicated can't be a bad thing.

Related Links



More interesting Notes:
Steven McFadyen's avatar Steven McFadyen

Steven has over twenty five years experience working on some of the largest construction projects. He has a deep technical understanding of electrical engineering and is keen to share this knowledge. About the author

myElectrical Engineering

comments powered by Disqus



Contribute to myElectrcial

Have an opinion or something to say, want to ask or answer questions, share your knowledge then use our site to do it . As a community of people interested...

Michael Faraday (the father of electrical engineering)

Famed English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791, in Newington Butts, a suburb of Surrey just south of the London Bridge...

IEC 61439 Verification Methods

The (relatively new) switchgear and control gear standard, IEC 61439 'Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies' has three methods which can be...

Maxwell's Equations - Introduction

Maxwell's Equations are a set of fundamental relationships, which govern how electric and magnetic fields interact. The equations explain how these fields...

Motor Efficiency Classification

Electric motors are one of the most widely used items of electrical equipment. Improving motor efficiency benefits include, reduced power demand, lower...

Closed Doors

"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong...

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare, makes the materials used in teaching all MIT subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world.

Differential protection, the good old days

This morning I was explaining how differential protection works to a junior engineer. To give him something to read I opened up the NPAG (Network Protection...

How to Calculate Motor Starting Time

Request to look at induction motor starting time have come up a few times on the site. Hopefully in this post, I give you guys some idea on how to calculate...

UPS Battery Sizing

Various techniques exist to enable the correct selection of batteries for UPS applications.  The procedure described below is one of the more common. ...

Have some knowledge to share

If you have some expert knowledge or experience, why not consider sharing this with our community.  

By writing an electrical note, you will be educating our users and at the same time promoting your expertise within the engineering community.

To get started and understand our policy, you can read our How to Write an Electrical Note