Sunday, 13 January 2013

An Attempted Rebuttal to Occam's Razor

Inspired by a recent, very interesting conversation I had, here is my attempt to question a philosophical favourite:

If this has been stated by far greater minds years ago then I apologise.

I would have to say that for me, Occam's Razor, whilst on the surface seems like an important and proven tool in validating a theory's relevance, there is a possible weakness.

Occam's Razor inevitably gets applied from a limited perspective. OK, I know that a human perspective is limited. And I know that human perspective as a group is a seemingly quite wide and yet limited one. But can Occam's Razor really be applied with definite certainty as regards the validity of ordering theories into a qualifying list of more or less possible? (OK I recognise that at one end of the list resides the ridiculous which Occam's Razor can address rather well, but I am looking at the end of the list where "lower amounts of components need to be added": as in the non-ridiculous). If one chooses to look at existence from an unlimited perspective, temporally, therein the weakness in application of Occam's Razor is highlighted. How can Occam's Razor apply to something that will turn out to be true though we haven't confirmed it as such yet? Surely if a theory is true then it is true no matter how many components are required? Through not being able to see the developments of the future, the fact we don't know yet and apply Occam's Razor will not effect the fact that we will discover the truth at a later stage/date? Therefore, any theory we apply Occam's Razor to and state this is less likely to be true, we always have to remember that Occam's Razor could be completely wrong on a specific theory regardless of addition or subtraction of components.

Now I know that this doesn't completely invalidate Occam's Razor, but it does weaken the use of it in an argument over which theory is more valid than another from an analytical point of view?



No comments:

Post a comment