, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 87–100

Does a Parsimony Principle Entail a Simple World?


DOI: 10.1007/s12133-011-0078-2

Cite this article as:
DeLancey, C. Int Ontology Metaphysics (2011) 12: 87. doi:10.1007/s12133-011-0078-2


Many scholars claim that a parsimony principle has ontological implications. The most common such claim is that a parsimony principle entails that the “world” is simple. This ontological claim appears to often be coupled with the assumption that a parsimony principle would be corroborated if the “world” were simple. I clarify these claims, describe some minimal features of simplicity, and then show that both these claims are either false or they depend upon an implausible notion of simplicity. In their stead, I propose a minimal ontological claim: a parsimony principle entails a minimal realism about the existence of objects and laws, in order to allow that the descriptions of the relevant phenomena contain patterns.


Parsimony Simplicity Complexity Ontology 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyState University of New York at OswegoOswegoUSA

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