Simplicity

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For other uses, see Simplicity (disambiguation).

Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. Alternatively, as Herbert A. Simon suggested, something is simple or complex depending on the way we choose to describe it...[1] In some uses, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity, or clarity. Simplicity may also be used in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required.

The concept of simplicity has been related to in the field of epistemology. According to Occam's razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true. In the context of human lifestyle, simplicity can denote freedom from hardship, effort or confusion. Specifically, it can refer to a simple living style.

Simplicity is a theme in the Christian religion. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, God is infinitely simple. The Roman Catholic and Anglican religious orders of Franciscans also strive after simplicity. Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) practice the Testimony of Simplicity, which is the simplifying of one's life in order to focus on things that are most important and disregard or avoid things that are least important.

In the philosophy of science, simplicity is a meta-scientific criterion by which to evaluate competing theories. In this field, a distinction is often made between two senses of simplicity: syntactic simplicity (the number and complexity of hypotheses), and ontological simplicity (the number and complexity of things postulated). These two aspects of simplicity are often referred to as elegance and parsimony respectively.[2]

Quotes about simplicity[edit]

  • "Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest." – Leo Babauta[3]
  • "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." – Albert Einstein[4]
  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." – Leonardo da Vinci[citation needed] (Leonardo never wrote nor was reported to have said this.)
  • "It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it." – John H. Taylor
  • "The Power of Simplicity" – Ken Segall
  • "The greatest ideas are the simplest." – William Golding[5]
  • "Simplicity is a competitive advantage." {Hubspot Company values}
  • "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail." – Henry David Thoreau[6]
  • "Simplicity [is] the art of maximizing the amount of work not done" - Agile Manifesto[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Simon 1962, p. 481
  2. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
  3. ^ Babauta, Leo (2009). The Power of Less. p. ix. ISBN 1848502354. 
  4. ^ Skube, Daneen (2 September 2012). "When dumb is smart". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Book: Lord of the Flies[1]
  6. ^ Book: Walden[2]
  7. ^ Agile Manifesto Principles

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Craig, E. Ed. (1998) Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London, Routledge. simplicity (in Scientific Theory) p. 780–783
  • Dancy, J. and Ernest Sosa, Ed.(1999) A Companion to Epistemology. Malden, Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishers Inc. simplicity p. 477–479.
  • Dowe, D. L., S. Gardner & G. Oppy (2007), "Bayes not Bust! Why Simplicity is no Problem for Bayesians", Brit. J. Phil. Sci., Vol. 58, Dec. 2007, 46pp. [Among other things, this paper compares MML with AIC.]
  • Edwards, P., Ed. (1967). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York, The Macmillan Company. simplicity p. 445–448.
  • Hickey, Rich (2011) Simple Made Easy
  • Kim, J. a. E. S., Ed.(2000). A Companion to Metaphysics. Oxford, Blackwell Publishers. simplicity, parsimony p. 461–462.
  • Maeda, J., (2006) Laws of Simplicity, MIT Press
  • Newton-Smith, W. H., Ed. (2001). A Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Malden, Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishers Ltd. simplicity p. 433–441.
  • Richmond, Samuel A.(1996)"A Simplification of the Theory of Simplicity", Synthese 107 373–393.
  • Sarkar, S. Ed. (2002). The Philosophy of Science—An Encyclopedia. London, Routledge. simplicity
  • Schmölders, Claudia (1974). Simplizität, Naivetät, Einfalt – Studien zur ästhetischen Terminologie in Frankreich und in Deutschland, 1674–1771. PDF, 37MB (German)
  • Scott, Brian(1996) "Technical Notes on a Theory of Simplicity", Synthese 109 281–289.
  • Simon, Herbert A (1962) The Architecture of Complexity Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 106, 467–482.
  • Wilson, R. A. a. K., Frank C., (1999). The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press. parsimony and simplicity p. 627–629.

External links[edit]