References and Links
The following papers and webpages discuss topics related to Occam's Razor and its role in pattern recognition. A number of them deal explicitly with the questions we address and propose either complementary or contrasting interpretations. Others are somewhat tangential to our topic but interested us nonetheless. We recognize that a number of the ideas we present here have antecedents in these sources, and we are grateful to these writers for helping us get our hands around a particularly slippery topic.
References and Links
Webb, G. I. Further Experimental evidence against the utility of Occam's Razor. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 4. 1996.
An experimental study of an interpretation of Occam's Razor. The author criticizes the Law of Parsimony (our second interpretation of Occam's Razor), assuming a syntactic definition of simplicity. The classifiers are decision trees, and simplicity is defined as the size of the tree. As noted in the page dealing with Occam's Razor in Pattern Recognition, this is a misinterpretation of the principle, as it fails to take into account any domain information.
Murphy, P. M. and Pazzani, M. J. Exploring the decision forest: An empirical investigation of Occam's razor in decision tree induction. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 1. 1994.
This paper makes essentially the same assumptions and interpretations as Webb's, above, which is substantially based on it.
Heylighen, F. Occam's Razor. Principia Cybernetica Web.
A definition and brief discussion of Occam's Razor from the epistemological point of view.
William of Ockham. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
An extensive page with historical information on William of Ockham and a summary of his main philosophical ideas.
William of Ockham.
A short biography.
What is Ockham's Razor?.
A very carefully considered discussion of Occam's Razor from a physicist's point of view, highlighting the important distinction between the epistemological and metaphysical interpretations, and arguing that only the former is in keeping with William of Ockham's original intent.
Copyright © 1999 Jacob Eliosoff and Ernesto Posse
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