Foundations of Physics Letters

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 255–266 | Cite as

Why Occam’S Razor

  • Russell K. StandishEmail author


Ensemble theories have received a lot of interest recently as a means of explaining a lot of the detailed complexity observed in reality by a vastly simpler description “every possibility exists” and a selection principle (Anthropic Principle) “we only observe that which is consistent with our existence.” In this paper I show why, in an ensemble theory of the universe, we should be inhabiting one of the elements of that ensemble with least information content that satisfies the anthropic principle. This explains the effectiveness of aesthetic principles such as Occam’s razor in predicting usefulness of scientific theories. I also show, with a couple of reasonable assumptions about the phenomenon of consciousness, that the linear structure of quantum mechanics can be derived.

Key words

Occam’s razor anthropic principle ensemble theories multiverse failure of induction foundation of quantum mechanics 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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