Razor (philosophy)

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In philosophy, a razor is a principle or rule of thumb that allows one to eliminate unlikely explanations for a phenomenon.[1]

Razors include:

  • Occam's razor: When faced with competing hypotheses, select the one that makes the fewest assumptions.
  • Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.[2]
  • Hume's razor: Do not multiply necessities without good reason.[3][4]
  • Hitchens' razor: The burden of proof or onus in a debate lies with the claim-maker, and if he or she does not meet it, the opponent does not need to argue against the unfounded claim.
  • Newton's flaming laser sword (or Alder's razor): If something cannot be settled by experiment then it is not worthy of debate.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garg, A. (17 May 2010). "Occam's razor". A.Word.A.Day. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  2. ^ "Hanlon's Razor". The Jargon File 4.4.7. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  3. ^ Miles, M. (2003). Inroads: Paths in Ancient and Modern Western Philosophy. University of Toronto Press. p. 543. ISBN 978-0802037442. 
  4. ^ Forrest, P. (2001). "Counting the cost of modal realism". In Preyer, G.; Siebelt, F. Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis. Studies in Epistemology and Cognitive Theory. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 93. ISBN 978-0742512016.