What is Occam’s razor and does it really work?

If you are contemplating a complex problem, consider Occam’s razor, as simplicity is often best. (Image credit: Laurence Dutton via Getty Images)

Occam’s razor (also spelled Ockham’s razor) slices through complexity with a no-nonsense approach. The philosophical maxim “Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate”, written by the 14th century Franciscan friar William of Ockham, translates as “Plurality should never be postulated without necessity”. In other words, all things being equal, simplicity is best.

So is this really true? Is the simplest explanation usually the best?

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