Simplicity, Inference and Modelling

Keeping it Sophisticatedly Simple

Simplicity, Inference and Modelling

The idea that simplicity matters in science is as old as science itself, with the much cited example of Ockham's Razor. A problem with Ockham's Razor is that nearly everybody seems to accept it, but few are able to define its exact meaning and to make it operational in a non-arbitrary way. Using a multidisciplinary perspective including philosophers, mathematicians, econometricians and economists, this monograph examines simplicity by asking six questions: What is meant by simplicity? How is simplicity measured? Is there an optimum trade-off between simplicity and goodness-of-fit? What is the relation between simplicity and empirical modelling? What is the relation between simplicity and prediction? What is the connection between simplicity and convenience?


"This lively and informative exposition of several points of view...will make this book pleasurable reading for not only philosophers of science and epistemologists, but also for those data analysts interested in formalizing the foundations that guide and shape their modeling practices." Journal of American Statistical Association