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William of Ockham

William of Ockham (ca. 1285-1349) was a Franciscan friar and philosopher, in Ockham (near Ripley, Surrey), England. William devoted to a life to extreme poverty and minimalism. A pioneer of nominalism, some consider him the father of modern epistemology.

Dave Beckett of the University of Kent at Canterbury writes:

"The medieval rule of parsimony, or principle of economy, frequently used by Ockham came to be known as Ockham's razor." [1] (http://wotug.ukc.ac.uk/parallel/www/occam/occam-bio)

Summoned to Avignon by Pope John XXII, William fled on May 26, 1328 and sought the the protection of Emperor Louis IV in Bavaria. [2] (http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Ockham) After criticizing the pope, he may have been excommunicated, although historical sources vary.

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