May 24, 2007

William of Ockham - solution focused philosopher?

Many years before I ever heard about the solution-focused approach I was interested in skepticism (and I still am). That is when I learned about William of Ockham, famous for his Ockham's razor. Later I learned about the solution-focused approach and I found out Steve de Shazer and others have frequently mentioned how the simplicity of solution-focused change resembles Ockham's razor. William of Ockham was a fourteenth century English philosopher who objected against his colleagues who used ever more complex assumptions and theories to understand the world. Back then, it was not uncommon for people to think that whoever came up with the most complicated explanation of a phenomenon must be the cleverest and therefore be right. Ockham argued the opposite: he who came up with the simplest theory that covered the facts must be right. Every unnecessary assumption must be cut away like if you were using a razor. That is key to solution-focused change: keep things simple. What is useful is done, what is not necessary is left out.
Also read: Paul Watzlawick

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