Aliter dicitur ad quaestionem quod paucitas semper est ponenda quando per ipsam salvantur apparentia . . . Et ideo positio plurium semper debet dicere necessitatem manifestam propter quam ponantur tot; nihil autem apparet in accidentibus propter quod debeant poni composita ex duabus partibus essentialibus, communiter loquendo . . .Ideo communiter negatur talis compositio.
"Otherwise it should be said to the question [which is whether accidents are simple or composite] that we should always posit fewer things when the appearances can be saved thereby . . . therefore in positing more things we should always indicate the manifest necessity on account of which so many things are posited. But there is no apparent reason why accidents should be taken to be composed of two essential parts, commonly speaking . . . therefore such composition is commonly denied."
Scotus is a big fan of what has come to be called Ockham's Razor. Of course we find it in Aquinas too, for instance in Summa theologiae Pars 1 q.2 a.3.1: quod potest compleri per pauciora principia, non fit per plura, what can be accomplished with fewer principles doesn't happen through more. The origins of the Razor go back to Aristotle and his insight that nature does nothing in vain. It was commonly known to the scholastics, but Scotus was particularly fond of invoking it. Why then is it so associated with Ockham rather than Scotus? Is it that Scotus balances it with a judicious use of the Anti-Razor, keeping a full toolkit and insisting that we not deny more entities when they are necessary to explain the appearances, whereas Ockham uses his fewer tools more ostentatiously and vigorously?
This is, of course, the self-serving scotist interpretation. The issue has been on my mind, however, since I've been reading Armand Maurer's fine book The Philosophy of William of Ockham in the Light of His Principles. I'll say something about it here soon.