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Razor (philosophy)

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Title: Razor (philosophy)  
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Subject: Hitchens's razor, Mike Alder, Hanlon's razor, Critical thinking, Ayn Rand
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Razor (philosophy)

In philosophy, a razor is a principle or rule of thumb that allows one to eliminate unlikely explanations for a phenomenon.[1]

Razors include:

  • Occam's razor: When faced with competing hypotheses, select the one that makes the fewest assumptions. Do not multiply necessities without good reason.
  • Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.[2]
  • Hume's razor: "If the cause, assigned for any effect, be not sufficient to produce it, we must either reject that cause, or add to it such qualities as will give it a just proportion to the effect" [3][4]
  • Hitchens' razor: The burden of proof or onus in a debate lies with the claim-maker, and if he or she does not meet it, the opponent does not need to argue against the unfounded claim.
  • Newton's flaming laser sword (or Alder's razor): If something cannot be settled by experiment then it is not worthy of debate.

See also


  1. ^ Garg, A. (17 May 2010). "Occam's razor". A.Word.A.Day. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  2. ^ "Hanlon's Razor".  
  3. ^ Miles, M. (2003). Inroads: Paths in Ancient and Modern Western Philosophy.  
  4. ^ Forrest, P. (2001). "Counting the cost of modal realism". In Preyer, G.; Siebelt, F. Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis. Studies in Epistemology and Cognitive Theory.  

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