Ockham’s Razor Conference

What does it mean to say “All things being equal, believe the simplest theory?”  It sure sounds like good advice, but in practice it can be vexingly hard to understand which theories Ockham’s razor is lopping off and which are to be left behind.  So I’m happy to see this announcement of a conference at CMU this weekend on the topic, where philosophers, statisticians, and machine learning types will get together and hash it out. Speakers include my collaborator Elliott Sober and blog favorite Cosma Shalizi.

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3 thoughts on “Ockham’s Razor Conference

  1. Ashwath says:

    Is there any established convention on Occam v. Ockham?

  2. JSE says:

    Not that I know of — I usually write “Occam” but wrote the post to conform with the usage of the conference (whose organizers surely have a much better chance of knowing the right spelling than I do.)

  3. As I understand it, “Ockham” is the contemporary English spelling of the place-name, which showed up as “Occam” in 14th century Latin.

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