Monday, November 4, 2013

Tika & Occam's Razor

When out walking, Tika told me she wanted her blog this week to explain Occam's Razor. We both had heard this term and had no clue what it meant.

Occam's Razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham (a village in the English county of Surrey). Tika and I are guessing that razor meant a saying?

Originally stated, "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily," this saying has morphed into the current day language of "If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, choose the simplest."  Or sometimes, "The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."

Or, and the one Tika and I like best:  "Keep things simple!"  (Or KISS?)

How does this apply to genealogy? "We should apply Occam's Razor in looking for guidance as we develop a theory," Tika counselled. To arrive at the proper documentation for our research problems, we too often overlook the simple, obvious answer. And, just as valid, a sound conclusion cannot be reached based only upon complicated assumptions.

Tika wishes us all well in our genealogy and, having done her good deed for the day, requested her dinner.

1 comment:

  1. I used it to figure out where not one, not two, but three sets of grandparents died -- they followed their kids, duh!