William of Occam
William of Occam (also spelled Ockham) was a Franciscan monk born in the village of Ockham in Surrey, England in 1285. It is believed that he died in a convent in Munich, Germany in 1349 succumbing to the black plague. Known as the “Doctor Invincibilis”, (unconquerable doctor) he won fame as a rigorous logician. His philosophy representing the principle of economy in science came to be referred to as William of Occam’s “razor.” This rule which said that plurality should not be assumed without necessity can be applied to medicine in modern terms as “it is needless to do more when less will suffice.” As Isadore Tarlov M.D., neurosurgeon, pointed out in his text The Principle of Parsimony in Medicine (Charles C. Thomas: Springfield IL, 1969): “What we have not generally done in medical practice, even in the twentieth century, is to use Occam’s razor as wisely and effectively as Copernicus used it in the sixteenth century.” This reference regards the brilliant application by this Prussian philosopher, mathematician, and astrologer who “reduced the number of circles required to explain the apparent movement of the heavens to thirty-four from the eighty or so used by Ptolemy.”
A primary goal of the Burton Report® is to assist in reintroducing William of Occam’s Razor as an important value for our present health care system.
Other “Razors” Appropriate for the 21st Century
You Can’t Do The Right Thing Unless You Know What It Is.
Waiting For People To Get Sick, Before Treating Them Is Like Waiting To Get Thirsty Before Digging A Well
In Order To Possess A Healthy Spine A Person Must Be Careful In Selecting Their Parents As Well As The Planet They Live On.