William wrote: ↑Wed Sep 20, 2023 8:36 pm
[Replying to boatsnguitars in post #2
I do have an issue with this: "Occam's Razor hardly applies since we cannot be sure what the 'Facts' are, never mind the 'Simplest explanation'"
I agree. It is simply a hand-waving statement of opinion which has nothing to do with the OP or the OP question.
If we don't know the facts, why are we applying any reasoning to it at all? If I see a shooting star, I have the "facts" that it looks like a star streaking across the sky. Clearly, this simple explanation is wrong - as we know the facts.
Yes - "shooting stars" are not what these are.
This is why philosophy alone is useless.
Certainly in relation to suns shooting across the night sky. But the usefulness of philosophy is not being debated in this thread.
Q: Does Occam's Razor only apply to facts or can it be applied to any philosophical hypothesis?
OK, i'll answer your question... IMO, OR is a rule of thumb, not a law, and therefore, ought to be applied in a casual sense, not dogmatically.
Not sure if that is an answer to the question.
Occam's Razor can be applied to any philosophical hypothesis but "only casually"?
Can you provide an example of what you mean by this?
Meaning, you can consider it: "IFF I am considering the salient aspects of this problem, then I can use OR to nudge me to consider the more parsimonious option, and consider that it may override other options."
Let me put it another way: What Makes a Good Explanation?
A good explanation, whether in science or philosophy, shares several key characteristics:
Clarity and Coherence: A good explanation should be clear and logically coherent. It should avoid jargon or overly complex language that might obscure the message. The explanation should be structured in a way that the audience can follow the reasoning without undue confusion.
Accuracy and Factual Basis: In both science and philosophy, explanations should be accurate and grounded in facts or well-established principles. Scientific explanations, in particular, should be consistent with empirical evidence and tested hypotheses.
Logical Consistency: Explanations should adhere to the principles of logic. In philosophy, this means avoiding contradictions or fallacies in reasoning. In science, it means ensuring that the explanation follows a logical sequence of cause and effect.
Completeness: A good explanation should be sufficiently comprehensive to address the relevant aspects of the topic. It should cover the necessary background information and provide enough context for the audience to grasp the subject matter.
Simplicity and Parsimony: Occam's Razor, a principle in both science and philosophy, suggests that simpler explanations, all else being equal, are preferable. Unnecessarily complex or convoluted explanations should be avoided unless there is strong evidence to support them.
Testability and Falsifiability: Scientific explanations should be testable and potentially falsifiable. This means that they can be subjected to empirical testing and, if necessary, revised or rejected based on new evidence. Philosophical explanations may not always be subject to empirical testing but should still be open to critical examination and revision.
Relevance: Explanations should be relevant to the question or problem at hand. In both science and philosophy, addressing the central issue and avoiding tangential or irrelevant information is crucial for a good explanation.
Contextual Understanding: A good explanation should help the audience understand the broader context of the topic. This may involve explaining how the subject relates to other concepts, theories, or fields of study.
Engagement and Accessibility: Effective explanations engage the audience and are accessible to a wide range of individuals with varying levels of prior knowledge. They should not rely on specialized knowledge or assume that the audience shares the same background.
Elegance and Insight: In philosophy, particularly, a good explanation may offer novel insights or present complex ideas in an elegant and illuminating manner. In science, elegant explanations often simplify complex phenomena without sacrificing accuracy.
Ethical Considerations: Ethical considerations are particularly important in both philosophy and science. A good explanation should consider the ethical implications of its conclusions and should not intentionally mislead or manipulate.
"All things being equal. Of course, this is a judgment call, hence "casually." There are maqny other things to consider. Parsimony seems not as importance as, say, Relevance.