Philosopher and theologian William of Ockham dies in Munich.
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan theologian who studied and taught at Oxford and wrote a number of political and logical treatises. He is, however, most famous for Ockham's Razor, an ontological principle which is also known as the law of parsimony.
According to Ockham, Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora, which means in English: It is pointless to do with more what can be done with less. What this means, in practice, is that we should not bother postulating the existence of entities, things, or principles which are not absolutely, logically necessary to explain the phenomena at hand. Thus, for example, because gravity does such a good job at explaining why things fall, there is no need to add in the extra hypothesis of invisible fairies pushing things to the ground.
Not all of William of Ockham's ideas were warmly received by the Church. Pope Clement VI summoned him to appear at Avignon and answer charges; in the end, fifty-one of his propositions were deemed heretical and banned. Before this time he had accorded the Church and the pope the authority in matters of faith, but after these experiences he limited that authority to scriptures.
As a consequence, William of Ockham was forced to flee and was excommunicated from his Franciscan order. Fortunately for him, Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV of Bavaria was involved in a dispute with the papacy and was willing to become his patron.