An expression is more concise when it makes an assertion clear with
greater economy of concepts and terms
Too lengthy sentences are awkward for conveying meaning, This can result from the use of superfluous terms, from repetitions of the same terns due to unwieldy grammatical sentence construction and from the choice of long phrases when shorter ones that would do are available. All of these causes of inconciseness are due to the expression, not necessarily to the assertion itself. Yet the assertion can also be awkwardly conceived. The duplication of virtually the same concepts can easily occur because, as we have noted, the sane concept can usually be expressed in a variety of terms. Further, the concepts may be related to one another in a disorderly fashion, when some re-thinking might make the assertion more concise. Consider this last sentence, it could be conceived more distinctly if put in the more concise expression:-
'An assertion may be made more concise by re-ordering its concepts.'
Another reason for inconcise assertions can be the use of too many details. This often makes for lengthy compound sentences joined by conjunctions, or with bracketed comments, hyphenated inserts, qualifying sub-sentences and long lists (as in the present sentence!) If the thought itself is a long one that cannot be broken down into separate assertions, the expression must also be long. Yet this is seldom an excuse since most complex assertions can be paraphrased in several short sentences. For example, the writings of Kant and other German philosophers are ill-famed for the length of sentences, many of which can be divided into a series of shorter assertions without loss of the overall meaning.
[Note: The first well-known statement of a principle of economy of thought was by the British philosopher William of Occam (14th century A.D.). His statement was "What can be explained, on fewer principles is explained needlessly by more." This is known as "Occam's razor".]
The principle of conciseness can be applied systematically by using the following rules;-
Rule 1 When
an expression contains two identical or similar terms it can usually
be made more concise by conceptual and verbal reconstruction
[This is a rule against 'circularity' in language and thought. See under 'Principle of Non-contradiction']
Eg) EO "The experience we derive from our senses only seem to derive their meaning from the sensory experiences alone and not also from our subjective mental thoughts."
This could be reduced without appreciable loss of sense to:-
E1 "Experiences only appear not to derive their meaning from our subjective thoughts but from the senses alone."
Rule 2 When an assertion is expressed which contains the same concepts more than once it can usually be made more concise in-a briefer expression
EO "The empirical cause of any event which brings about the change known as an effect includes whatever observable factual conditions that precede the resultant alteration in those earlier states."
Here the concept usually expressed by the term 'empirical' is again expressed by the term 'observable' factual conditions'. This repetition of concepts can be eliminated. Also the term 'effect' duplicates the concept also expressed in 'the resultant alteration'. 'Those earlier states' repeats the concept of 'conditions that precede'. Therefore, the following synopsis of EO suggests the shorter interpretation:
E1 "The cause of any event includes the observable conditions that precede their change into what is known as the effect."
Rule 3 When
an expression is too long for easily grasping its assertion it can usually
be distributed to one or more shorter expressions
Eg) EO "In the long run of things the prosperity of western nations that early became dependent on mass industrial production to export to markets from which they also derived the necessary raw materials at relatively low-cost before selling these back at great profit until entirely controlling large overseas colonies will inevitably decline with the rise of competitors using ex-colonies and under-developed countries where cheap labour and low overhead costs make automated industrial production so competitive as to outclass the western nations with their strong labour-protective traditions and out-dated plant inherited largely from the age of industrial revolution."
It is simply a matter of editing down as follows:-
E1 a "In the long run of things the prosperity of western nations that early became dependent on mass industrial production will inevitably decline."
E1 b "Those nations exported to markets from which they also derived the necessary raw materials at relatively low cost."
E1 c "They sold them back at great profit until they entirely controlled large overseas colonies."
E1 d "Their decline will come with the rise of competitors using ex-colonies and under-developed countries where cheap labour and low overhead costs make industrial production competitive."
El e "This will outclass the western nations with their strong labour-protective traditions and out-dated plant largely inherited from the age of industrial revolution."
[Note: The principle of conciseness expresses one general condition for making communication efficient. Thus it serves as a development of the overall general principle.]