Occam’s (or Ockham’s) Razor has been called a heuristic device. Heuristic means a guide or suggestion. It appears in various forms including versions which are useless tautologies, supposedly useful rules of thumb, fallacious positivist philosophy and lastly it is occasionally used properly as a distillery for information. One example would be in the video from the sacrilegious fool Edward Current at :17:
This claim is bogus. Given a result with two necessary prerequisites, a sale of goods for example, this rule will always fail because an explanation with one necessary cause can be posited but that doesn’t make it true. Furthermore, given any explanation with only one necessary cause an infinite number of other explanations with the same number of complications or assumptions can be contrived, all of which are false, destroying the likelihood claim which he lacks data for anyway.
A + B = C is known to be true.
Edward’s version of Occam’s Razor falsely implies that the statement A, B or D = C is preferable to the known truth.
Some other interpretations of Occam’s Razor would imply that C = C which is true but useless.
A = B is known to be true.
According to Edward’s Occam’s Razor the possibilities C, D, E, F… = B are just as likely as the known truth.
This is because Edward’s standard says that logic, usefulness, observational consistency and truth don’t matter. Rather, the likelihood of the truth of a statement is explained simply by the number of presuppositions and complications. Well I’m sorry if not all reality breaks down to a prekindergarten level, Edward, but some explanations are flat out complicated and that doesn’t preclude them from being true nor preferable. Even on a statistically normative basis which you provide no data for and which can be easily refuted from simply thought experiment.
Positivism is of course fallacious because something can exist without being observed. Tautologies, such as the statement, “a statement should be as complicated as it needs to be but no more,” are true but useless and discourage deep thinking. Not to mention they are contradictory since tautologies themselves are nothing but redundant statements. In reality how can one know whether or not one has obtained an ideally complex statement? You can’t know without further investigation, but therefore, by virtue of not getting things complicated, you shouldn’t try to know.
In reality Occam’s Razor is useful for one thing. To distill information. If the same information is contained in two phrasings, one of which is shorter, that one is preferable because it is more efficient. If the information contained, the assumptions necessary or the implications defer at all then Ockham’s Razor is philosophically unjustified and will result in what I will call an “Occam fallacy.” Occam’s Razor is essentially a tool that says that using tautologies is a waste of time. I agree. Ironic that some would invoke it as such.
Example of proper use:
Possible phrase 1:
0*((A/A)*(B+C+D+E/H))^N = Y
Possible phrase 2:
0 = Y
Possible phrase 2 is preferable because the two phrasings contain the same information and one does so in a more efficient fashion.