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The Simple Option: What Is 'Occam's Razor'?:DMM英会話DailyNews予習復習メモ

無駄な説明をそぎ落とすーsinple is the best がこの哲学者の原則:オッカムの剃刀。いわゆる断捨離ですね。





2023.5.16 level 8

The Simple Option: What Is 'Occam's Razor'?


In his poem The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost wrote: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled."

The Road Not Takenという詩に、詩人Robert Frostは書いた。”森の中で道が二つに分かれていたー私は人が通ってなさそうな方を選んだ


Frost was a poet, but had he been a scientist, perhaps he'd have considered the principle of "Occam's razor" and taken the other road instead.

もし科学者でいたなら"Occam's razor"の原理を信じ、もう一方の道を選んでいただろうが、(一般的思考では人が多く通った道の方が安全だから)Frostは科学者ではなく、詩人であった。




It may sound like the name of a heavy metal band, but Occam's razor is an idea that has been around for hundreds of years.

Occam's razorはヘビメタバンド名みたいだが、何百年も彼の考え方が受け継がれている。


Also spelled O-C-K-H-A-M, it's named after 14th century English philosopher William of Ockham. Basically, it says that when you have two different ideas that could explain the same thing, the simplest idea is more likely to be correct.

14世紀の英国の哲学者はOckham オッカム(地名)から名付けられた。



For example, if you wake up to find all your favorite cookies are gone from the cupboard, while it's possible that someone broke into your house and stole them, it's more likely that one of your family members ate them in the night.



Ockham wasn't the first to have this simplifying idea, but he mentioned it so often and used it so sharply — "cutting away" the complicated parts of ideas he didn't need — that it came to be known by his name.

Ockham が初めて、この容易な考え方をしたのではなかったが、彼はよくその考え方を述べていた。シャープな切れ味で使ったー彼が必要としてない複雑な部分はすっぱり"切り捨てる”のだ。だからオッカムの剃刀として知られている。








Some of the most famous scientists have used variations of Occam's razor, including Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.



Stephen Hawking even applied it to his study of the laws of the universe, "cutting away" things humans could never know and focusing on the things we can observe.



But Occam's razor is not foolproof.



For example, doctors in training are often told: "When you hear hooves, think of horses, not zebras."



That is to say, if a patient comes in with a cough, it's more likely to be something common like a virus — or a horse — than something uncommon like a serious illness — or a zebra.




That's applying Occam's razor — favoring the simpler explanation for the symptoms. But of course, that's not always going to be the right answer.




And that's why Occam's razor should be seen as a tool, not a rule — the road less traveled has advantages, too.