PhilSci Archive

Simple or Simplistic? Scientists' Views on Occam's Razor

Riesch, Hauke (2010) Simple or Simplistic? Scientists' Views on Occam's Razor. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 25 (1). pp. 75-90. ISSN 2171-679X

489-1229-1-PB.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (266kB)


This paper presents a discourse analysis of 40 semi-structured interviews with scientists on their views of
Occam's razor and simplicity. It finds that there are many different interpretations and thoughts about the precise meaning of the principle as well as many scientists who reject it outright, or only a very limited version. In light of the variation of scientists' opinions, the paper looks at the discursive uses of simplicity in scientists' thinking and how scientists' interpretations of Occam's razor impact on philosophy's representation of the principle and affects the communication between philosophy and science.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: scientists' philosophies of science, Occam's razor, sociology of philosophy of science
Depositing User: Users 15304 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 00:45
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2014 00:45
Item ID: 10329
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1387/theoria.489
Date: May 2010
Page Range: pp. 75-90
Volume: 25
Number: 1
ISSN: 2171-679X

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item