Definition of principle (or law) of parsimony in US English:

principle (or law) of parsimony


  • The scientific principle that things are usually connected or behave in the simplest or most economical way, especially with reference to alternative evolutionary pathways.

    Compare with Occam's razor
    • ‘Lest they fall into anthropomorphizing, many behaviorists follow the principle of parsimony, often called Occam's razor, that restricts inferences to the simplest adequate explanation of any particular animal behavior.’
    • ‘When there are several branches with low bootstrap values, the numbers of genes in ancestral species are estimated by the same procedure as the above under the principle of parsimony.’
    • ‘Such a loop is initialized with the simplest parameterized model and proceeds with more and more complex structures until the optimal order of the model is found in accordance with a principle of parsimony.’
    • ‘It should be noted that while others might apply the razor to eliminate the entire spiritual world, Ockham did not apply the principle of parsimony to the articles of faith.’
    • ‘Well it is taken to refer to the principle of parsimony that, from the Latin, ‘it is vain to do with more what can be done with less’, or ‘a plurality of things is not to be posited without necessity’.’
    • ‘He is remembered as the father of the medieval principle of parsimony, or economy, that advises anyone confronted with multiple explanations or models of a phenomenon to choose the simplest explanation first.’
    • ‘Consistent with the principle of parsimony, we then use the correct standard errors of the parameter estimates to drop the highly insignificant variables.’
    • ‘Generally, following the principle of parsimony, if competing models explain equally well, the more parsimonious model is preferred.’
    • ‘But this would require us to take an a priori position in favor of the principle of parsimony in order to preserve methodological naturalism.’
    • ‘If so, the law of parsimony of explanation would suggest that the construct of vital exhaustion is redundant.’