Analysis / Occam's Razor

Alice: Occam's razor says that when dealing with a problem with multiple solutions, the simplest solution is the correct solution.

Bob: That's a common misconception of Occam's razor, in which in any circumstances, one chooses the theory which involves the least amount of work to get answers that match one's requirements. In other words: accept the simplest explanation that fits most of the facts.

Occam's razor actually states that "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." This is often paraphrased as "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." In other words, when multiple competing theories are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the theory that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities. It is in this sense that Occam's razor is usually understood.

Carol: That is, however, incorrect. Occam's razor is not concerned with the simplicity or complexity of a good explanation as such; it only demands that the explanation be free of elements that have nothing to do with the phenomenon and the explanation.