conceptually parsimonious, and hence somewhat confusing and even contradictory.

panview

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello,everyone.The following is from the book The higher education system: Academic organization in cross‐national perspective, by Burton R. Clark.On p.11 it goes:

It helps to have a single idea to fall back on as we move through a variety of topics, trying simultaneously to be far-ranging in international coverage, reasonably true to reality in various national settings, conceptually parsimonious, and hence somewhat confusing and even contradictory. That underlying idea is interest .5 The division of labor in the academic world, as elsewhere, is a division of human commitment.

I can't understand the meaning of the above phrase,"conceptually parsimonious, and hence somewhat confusing and even contradictory." Could you explain it for me what the author really means?
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    These three are presented as desirable goals -

    trying to be far-ranging
    reasonably true to reality
    conceptually parsimonious



    - but unfortunately they are "somewhat confusing and even contradictory".

    "Conceptually parsimonious" is rather obscure, in my opinion. Since it's presented here as a good thing to be, I would guess that it means "not proposing or using a greater number of concepts than is absolutely necessary".

    That's just my guess though.:(
     

    panview

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    These three are presented as desirable goals -...
    I would guess that it means "not proposing or using a greater number of concepts than is absolutely necessary".
    Thank you. Your explanation is very clear, though the sentence is rather obscure.:)
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    'Parsimonious explanation' is not rare, however. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Google hits. I agree with Velisarius as to meaning.

    The principle of parsimony in science


    The basic point of the sentence, which V outlined, can be expressed simply.

    One want to explain the organization of higher education in various countries, with many differences. And one want to use a few central concepts (few- parsimonious). Well, that's going to be difficult if not impossible.
     
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