Inspirational William of Ockham Quotes

William of Ockham (c. 1287 – 1347) was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian. This post features some Inspirational William of Ockham Quotes.

He is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the fourteenth century.

He is commonly known for Occam’s razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, and also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology. In the Church of England, his day of commemoration is 10 April. Ockham was a pioneer of nominalism, and some consider him the father of modern epistemology, because of his strongly argued position that only individuals exist, rather than supra-individual universals, essences, or forms, and that universals are the products of abstraction from individuals by the human mind and have no extra-mental existence.

William of Ockham believed “only faith gives us access to theological truths. The ways of God are not open to reason, for God has freely chosen to create a world and establish a way of salvation within it apart from any necessary laws that human logic or rationality can uncover.” Ockham’s theism was based solely on private revelation and faith(fideism). He believed that science was a matter of discovery and saw God as the only ontological necessity. His importance is as a theologian with a strongly developed interest in logical method, and whose approach was critical rather than system building.

In scholasticism, Ockham advocated reform in both method and content, the aim of which was simplification. Ockham incorporated much of the work of some previous theologians, especially John Duns Scotus. From Scotus, Ockham derived his view of divine omnipotence, his view of grace and justification, much of his epistemology and ethical convictions.

William of Ockham Quotes
William of Ockham Quotes

William of Ockham Quotes

“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.”
― William of Ockham

“When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”
― William of Ockham

“Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.”
― William of Ockham

“Plurality is never to be posited without necessity.”
― William of Ockham

“It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.”
― William of Ockham quotes

“Keep things simple.”
― William of Ockham quotes

“Logic is the most useful tool of all the arts. Without it no science can be fully known.”
― William of Ockham

“With all things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one.”
― William of Ockham

“All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.”
― William of Ockham

“The simplest explanation is usually the right one”
― William of Ockham

“I have set out opposing assertions in response to your question and I have touched on quite strong arguments in support of each position. Therefore consider now which seems the more probable to you.”
― William of Ockham

“The head of Christians does not, as a rule, have power to punish secular wrongs with a capital penalty and other bodily penalties and it is for thus punishing such wrongs that temporal power and riches are chiefly necessary; such punishment is granted chiefly to the secular power. The pope therefore, can, as a rule, correct wrongdoers only with a spiritual penalty. It is not, therefore, necessary that he should excel in temporal power or abound in temporal riches, but it is enough that Christians should willingly obey him.”
William of Ockham

“It is on account of theology alone that any assertion whatsoever should be called catholic or heretical. For only an assertion which is consonant with theology is truly catholic, and only one which is known to be opposed to theology is known to be heretical. For if some assertion were found to be opposed to decrees of the highest pontiffs, or also of general councils or also to laws of the emperors, nevertheless, if it were not in conflict with theology, even if it could be considered false, erroneous or unjust, it should not be counted as a heresy.”
― William of Ockham

“Purely philosophical assertions which do not pertain to theology should not be solemnly condemned or forbidden by anyone, because in connection with such [assertions] anyone at all ought to be free to say freely what pleases him.”
― William of Ockham

“Intuitive cognition is such that when some things are cognized, of which one inheres in the other, or one is spatially distant from the other, or exists in some relation to the other, immediately in virtue of that non-propositional cognition of those things, it is known if the thing inheres or does not inhere, if it is spatially distant or not, and the same for other true contingent propositions, unless that cognition is flawed or there is some impediment.”
― William of Ockham

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