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Has Ockham's Razor become blunt in the last 700 years ?


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2 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

It seems to me his message was, at what point are you satisfied with my answer; rather than your assumption of what the answer should be...

Yes, that's one valid way to put it, IMO. In physics there are certain theoretical constructs, like the field, charge, couplings between different fields, etc. Takes considerable time to acquaint yourself with them, but once you do, you're completely won over by their power and generality. You need to let go of the old equipment: push, pull, levers, and so on. You can always go back to them, because sometimes it doesn't help to think about, (eg., an engineering problem) in terms of fields and elementary interactions. So if you're curious about magnetism and the like, you let go of the other stuff. It does no good.

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It means Prologue.

Just one observation which I hope is relevant to the ongoing discussion: Simple principles can have arbitrarily complicated consequences. The much more "derived" theory is thus expected to b

I think it is important too see what Ockham's razor is: it is a heuristic principle, not a criterion for truth. A fine modern translation would be that if you have two theories that explain exactly th

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12 minutes ago, joigus said:

You need to let go of the old equipment

Perhaps, but if the old equipment still works; what we need is "equipment"...

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On 2/6/2021 at 3:49 PM, joigus said:

Yes, that's one valid way to put it, IMO. In physics there are certain theoretical constructs, like the field, charge, couplings between different fields, etc. Takes considerable time to acquaint yourself with them, but once you do, you're completely won over by their power and generality. You need to let go of the old equipment: push, pull, levers, and so on. You can always go back to them, because sometimes it doesn't help to think about, (eg., an engineering problem) in terms of fields and elementary interactions. So if you're curious about magnetism and the like, you let go of the other stuff. It does no good.

 

Perhaps  someone could explain to me why we hang on to Ockham's Razor yet don't apply it to situations in pure Mathematics or Physics such as Relativity where the apparatus we teach and use contains more information and structure than is necessary.
I am thinking about the 'automatic' but unneccessary use of coordinate systems in geometry?

 

On 2/6/2021 at 3:00 PM, Eise said:

I think one should not use Ockhams razor outside a scientific context. (Weren't you an engineer?) So I cannot subscript to your position:

Ockham was not a scientist. So why confine the razor to something he had never heard of and did not introduce it for ?

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9 minutes ago, studiot said:

Perhaps  someone could explain to me why we hang on to Ockham's Razor yet don't apply it to situations in pure Mathematics or Physics such as Relativity where the apparatus we teach and use contains more information and structure than is necessary.
I am thinking about the 'automatic' but unneccessary use of coordinate systems in geometry?

I think it's about at what level you wish to describe the theory. It is well understood that, e.g., Maxwell's equations are very simply formulated in a coordinate-free way as,

 \[dF=0\]

\[d*F=j\]

But it takes a considerable amount of time to explain to students what all of these symbols mean. Then again, in particularly "dirty" situations, it does no good to tackle the problem in such an all-encompassing, highfalutin way.

And we're approaching the level at which everything I say is just my two cents. :) 

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3 hours ago, joigus said:

I think it's about at what level you wish to describe the theory. It is well understood that, e.g., Maxwell's equations are very simply formulated in a coordinate-free way as,

 

dF=0

 

 

dF=j

 

But it takes a considerable amount of time to explain to students what all of these symbols mean. Then again, in particularly "dirty" situations, it does no good to tackle the problem in such an all-encompassing, highfalutin way.

And we're approaching the level at which everything I say is just my two cents. :) 

 

Not sure that either of those two expressions are coordinate free.

Just they are true in all coordinate systems.

Is  dF the divergence of a field ?

In any event I was talking about something much simpler than this.

1) It is fashionable to teach euclidian geometery  by vectors these days.

This adds a coordinate system, only neccessary because of the use.
A parallelogram has the same area whether calculated by Euclid or by vectors.

2) Relativity only requires a metric containing linked interval invariants.

Yes both of these can be done by theory using coordinate systems but this is surely going against the idea of the simplest possible theory for the job in hand.

 

Here is an example. Speed v velocity.

Speed

He was driving at 175 mph
He was driving along Pendine sands at 175 mph
Both are true and contain enough information to make sense.


He sailed from Cadiz at 4 knots
This could be true perhaps lacks enough information to make proper sense

Velocity
He was driving west along Pendine sands at 240 mph

He sailed S-SW from Cadiz at 4 knots
More information makes more sense

So English usage appears to conform to Ockham, and need not be scientific.

Once again I refer to what William actually said.

Quote

Stanford Encyclopedia

4.1 Ockham’s Razor

Still, Ockham’s “nominalism,” in both the first and the second of the above senses, is often viewed as derived from a common source: an underlying concern for ontological parsimony. This is summed up in the famous slogan known as “Ockham’s Razor,” often expressed as “Don’t multiply entities beyond necessity.”[31] Although the sentiment is certainly Ockham’s, that particular formulation is nowhere to be found in his texts. Moreover, as usually stated, it is a sentiment that virtually all philosophers, medieval or otherwise, would accept; no one wants a needlessly bloated ontology. The question, of course, is which entities are needed and which are not.

Ockham’s Razor, in the senses in which it can be found in Ockham himself, never allows us to deny putative entities; at best it allows us to refrain from positing them in the absence of known compelling reasons for doing so. In part, this is because human beings can never be sure they know what is and what is not “beyond necessity”; the necessities are not always clear to us. But even if we did know them, Ockham would still not allow that his Razor allows us to deny entities that are unnecessary. For Ockham, the only truly necessary entity is God; everything else, the whole of creation, is radically contingent through and through. In short, Ockham does not accept the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

Nevertheless, we do sometimes have sufficient methodological grounds for positively affirming the existence of certain things. Ockham acknowledges three sources for such grounds (three sources of positive knowledge). As he says in Sent. I, dist. 30, q. 1: “For nothing ought to be posited without a reason given, unless it is self-evident (literally, known through itself) or known by experience or proved by the authority of Sacred Scripture.”

 

Edited by studiot
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41 minutes ago, studiot said:

Not sure that either of those two expressions are coordinate free.

 

They are. There is no mention to any particular space-time coordinate frame, so how could they depend on any of them? What is more, they have an internal symmetry. You can rotate in the electric-magnetic reference frame \( \boldsymbol{E}\), \( \boldsymbol{B}\) and the equations remain the same, which amounts to arbitrarily re-define part of the purely electric \( j \) as magnetic.

45 minutes ago, studiot said:

Is  dF the divergence of a field ?

Yes, it is the divergence of a curvature term, and thereby identically zero by the Bianchi identity.

Please, give me some time to read your other points.

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9 hours ago, studiot said:

In any event I was talking about something much simpler than this.

1) It is fashionable to teach euclidian geometery  by vectors these days.

This adds a coordinate system, only neccessary because of the use.
A parallelogram has the same area whether calculated by Euclid or by vectors.

2) Relativity only requires a metric containing linked interval invariants.

Yes both of these can be done by theory using coordinate systems but this is surely going against the idea of the simplest possible theory for the job in hand.

 

Here is an example. Speed v velocity.

Speed

He was driving at 175 mph
He was driving along Pendine sands at 175 mph
Both are true and contain enough information to make sense.


He sailed from Cadiz at 4 knots
This could be true perhaps lacks enough information to make proper sense

Velocity
He was driving west along Pendine sands at 240 mph

He sailed S-SW from Cadiz at 4 knots
More information makes more sense

So English usage appears to conform to Ockham, and need not be scientific.

Once again I refer to what William actually said.

Oh, yes. But all this would fall under the category of the description of particular scenarios. If you want to be very specific, that's where Ockham's razor is not in its proper domain of validity.

Remember what @Eise said:

On 2/5/2021 at 1:52 PM, Eise said:

I think it is important too see what Ockham's razor is: it is a heuristic principle, not a criterion for truth.

(My emphasis.)

"Heuristic" refers to scientific hypotheses, thereby to general patterns, rules, or laws. One thing is "this happens to be here and going in that direction"; quite a different thing is trying to put forward a pattern according to which things that are here or there, going in this or that direction, behave.

Edited by joigus
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Occam's razor , in my view , is becoming even yet more necessitated in present-day science. So many simulations & quazi-modelling(s) of true objectivity have been created merely based on computer and supercomputer facilities , THAT WE FEEL LOST IN A JUNGLE OF ONLY EPI-PHENOMENOLOGICAL ASSERTIONS UNDER THE NAME OF OBJECTIVE SCIENCE. I dare say this process has been going on during the past half-century : it shows of itself no sign of retraction ........

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40 minutes ago, Prof Reza Sanaye said:

Occam's razor , in my view , is becoming even yet more necessitated in present-day science. So many simulations & quazi-modelling(s) of true objectivity have been created merely based on computer and supercomputer facilities , THAT WE FEEL LOST IN A JUNGLE OF ONLY EPI-PHENOMENOLOGICAL ASSERTIONS UNDER THE NAME OF OBJECTIVE SCIENCE. I dare say this process has been going on during the past half-century : it shows of itself no sign of retraction ........

Who knew a rescue granade wouldn't work?

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20 hours ago, Prof Reza Sanaye said:

have been created merely based on computer and supercomputer facilities ,

(My emphasis.)

Merely? How did Newton and Galileo manage to get anything done?

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