[R] Occams Razor Was: lm -- significance of x ...

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Sep 28 14:28:14 CEST 2000

> From: Peter Dalgaard BSA <p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk>
> Date: 28 Sep 2000 13:58:22 +0200
> Peter Dalgaard BSA <p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk> writes:
> > I think Occam/Ockham himself wrote in Latin. By my failing memory, the
> > quote is 
> > 
> > "Entia non runt multiplicanda praeter necessitam"
> > 
> > give or take a couple of incorrect inflexions. I.e. "Entities should
> > not multiply unless necessary" -- do not invent more elaborate
> > explanations than what is necessary to explain the facts.
> A little web search gave the following at
> http://www2.jonction.net/~ziem/occam.html 
> "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" 
> "Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora" 
> "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem" 
> The principle states that "Entities should not be multiplied
> unnecessarily." Sometimes it is quoted in one of its original Latin
> forms to give it an air of authenticity.

When I was a student this was referred to as the `principle of
parsimony', which has the advantage of having the essence in the name.
My (Concise Oxford) dictionary has this under

`law of parsimony'
that no more causes or forces should be assumed than are necessary to
account for the facts.

It seems that William of Ockham has become as generously
(mis-)acknowledged as the Reverend Thomas Bayes.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

r-help mailing list -- Read http://www.ci.tuwien.ac.at/~hornik/R/R-FAQ.html
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: r-help-request at stat.math.ethz.ch

More information about the R-help mailing list