Occam's razor  

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Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) is the principle that "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem). The popular interpretation of this principle is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Occam's razor (also written as Ockham's razor and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a problem-solving principle devised by William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian. The principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.

The term razor refers to distinguishing between two hypotheses either by "shaving away" unnecessary assumptions or cutting apart two similar conclusions.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Occam's razor" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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