Ockham (Occam), William of (c. 1280–1347)

William of Ockham was a fourteenth century intellectual, known for the principle called Ockham's Razor ("Entities must not be unnecessarily multiplied"), who joined the Franciscan order and studied at Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Jean Buridan, and Paris. He went further than Buridan in modifying Aristotle's doctrine of natural place by arguing that the elements in each world would return to their natural place within their own world, without any intervention by God. Although he began by supporting pluralism, he later became a strong opponent of the idea, citing the view that neither other worlds nor the creation of man elsewhere were mentioned in the Scriptures.


William of Ockham