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Simplicity is the property, condition, or quality of being simple or un-combined. It often connotes beauty. Simple things are usually easier to explain and understand than complex ones.

Simplicity is freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort.

According to Occam's razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true — hence the importance of the concept of simplicity in epistemology. According to Thomas Aquinas, God is infinitely simple.

In MCS cognition theory, simplicity is the property of a domain which requires very little information to be exhaustively described. This is the contrary of complexity.

Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) practice the Testimony of Simplicity, which is the simplifying of one's life in order to focus on things that are most important and disregard or avoid things that are least important.

Simplicity is sometimes used as a synonym or euphemism for stupidity.

Simplicity in the philosophy of science

Simplicity is a meta-scientific criterion by which to evaluate competing theories. See also Occam's Razor and references.

Simplicity in language

Some constructed languages have taken the beauty of simplicity as a design goal. For example, Toki Pona has only 118 words.


"Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler." — Albert Einstein

See also


  • Craig, E. Ed. (1998) Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London, Routledge. simplicity (in Scientific Theory) p.780-783
  • Dancy, J. and Ernest Sosa, Ed.(1999) A Companion to Epistemology. Malden, Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishers Inc. simplicity p. 477-479.
  • Edwards, P., Ed. (1967). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York, The Macmillan Company. simplicity p.445-448.
  • Kim, J. a. E. S., Ed.(2000). A Companion to Metaphysics. Oxford, Blackwell Publishers. simplicity, parsimony p.461-462.
  • Newton-Smith, W. H., Ed. (2001). A Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Malden, Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishers Ltd. simplicity p.433-441.
  • Sarkar, S. Ed. (2002). The Philosophy of Science--An Encyclopedia. London, Routledge. simplicity
  • Wilson, R. A. a. K., Frank C., (1999). The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press. parsimony and simplicity p.627-629.

External links

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