Philosophy

Discussion

Is Occam's Razor a Physical Thing?

J. J. C. Smarta1

a1 Australian National University

In his discussion note ‘J. J. C. Smart, Materialism and Occam's Razor’ Peter Glassen argues that it was inconsistent of me both to assert that realism is true and that Occam's razor (or any other principle for that matter) is a reason for the materialist thesis. Glassen says that Occam's razor ‘is not a physical thing, state or process at all’. A little further down on the same page he uses the phrase ‘material or physical thing, state, or process’. It is possible, therefore, that Glassen regards the distinction between ‘material’ and ‘physical’ as unimportant in the present context. I think however that one way of replying to Glassen turns on this distinction.