The Role of Common Sense in Philosophy

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Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:51 pm
I read a nice essay here on the philosophy of common sense. It is not quite how we would use use the phrase.

Quote:
It is on this fact that Reid's appeal to him is based. He refers to Hume's account of the manner in which, after solitary reflection has environed him with the clouds and darkness of doubt, the genial influence of "dinner, backgammon, and social talk" dispels these doubts and restores his belief in the world without and the self within: and Reid takes his stand with those who are "so weak as to imagine that they ought to have the same belief in solitude and in company." His essential demand, therefore, on the philosopher, is not primarily that he should make his beliefs consistent with those of the vulgar, but that he should make them consistent with his own; and the legitimacy of the demand becomes, I think, more apparent, when we regard it as made in the name of Philosophy rather than in the name of Common Sense. For when we reflect on plain Common Sense,-on the body of unreasoned principles of judgment which we and other men are in the habit of applying in ordinary thought and discourse,-we find it certainly to some extent confused and inconsistent:

...

Accordingly, in Reid's view it is the duty of a philosopher-his duty as a philosopher-to aim steadily and persistently at bringing the common human element of his intellectual life into clear consistency with the special philosophic element. And Reid is on the whole perfectly aware,-though his language occasionally ignores it,-that for every part of this task the special training and intellectual habits of the philosopher are required.


He is taking "Common sense" as the common human element of our intellectual life rather than the body of traditional, unreasoned beliefs that are commonly believed. I think this is clearly the best way to look at it. Common sense should be sensible, based on experience and thought. I don't see why we would call superstitions common sense just because they are commonly believed.

He describes the importance of this kind of common sense. I think the quote from Hume gets it just right--sometimes after philosophizing we have confusing doubts, that are dispelled when we experience the world first hand. Kicking a stone may dispel your doubts that it is mind independent for example.

But clearly we should not blindly rely on our experiences. He discusses that in these two sections:

Quote:
Thus, Hume says, "the table which we see seems to diminish as we remove farther from it: but the real table which exists independent of us suffers no alteration. It was, therefore, nothing but its image which was present to the mind. These are the obvious dictates of reason." In answering this line of objection Reid partly relies on a weak distinction between original and acquired perception, which the progress of science has rendered clearly untenable and irrelevant. Apart from this his really effective reply is twofold. First he points out that the very evidence relied upon to show the unreality of sense-percepts really affords striking testimony to the general validity of the belief in an independent reality known through sense-perception. It is by trusting, not by distrusting, this fundamental belief that Common Sense organised into Science continually at once corrects and confirms crude Common Sense. Take Hume's case of the table. If nothing but images were present to the mind, how could we ever know that there exists a real table which does not alter while the visible magnitude changes its distance from us? The plain man knows this through an acquired perception, by which he habitually judges of real magnitude from visible appearances: but science carries the knowledge further, enabling us to predict exactly what appearance a given portion of extended matter will exhibit at any given distance from the spectators. Now all this coherent, precise and unerring prediction rests upon innumerable sense-perceptions; and the scientific processes which have made it possible have been carried on throughout the basis of the vulgar belief in the independent existence of the matter perceived. "Is it not absurd," Reid asks, "to suppose that a false supposition of the rude vulgar has been so lucky in solving an infinite number of phenomena of nature?"

Suppose, however, that the opponent resists this argument: suppose he maintains that, though physical science may find the independent existence of matter a convenient fiction,-as mathematicians find it convenient to feign that they can extract the square root of negative quantities,-still in truth Mind can know only mental facts-feelings and thoughts. Suppose he further urges that the common belief in the independent existence of the object of perception is found on reflection to have no claim to philosophic acceptance, because while admittedly unreasoned it cannot be said to be strictly intuitive:-granted that I may directly perceive the table before me, I cannot directly perceive that it exists independently of my perception. To this line of argument Reid has another line of reply. He points out to the Idealist that he does not escape from this kind of unreasoned belief by refusing to recognise a reality beyond consciousness. He has still to rely on data of knowledge which are open to the same objections as the belief in the independent existence of matter. For instance, he has to rely on memory. If sense-perception is fallible, memory is surely more fallible; if we do not know intuitively and cannot prove that what we perceive really exists independently of our perception, still less can we either know intuitively or prove that what we recollect really happened: if on reflection we find it difficult to conceive how the Non-ego can be known by the Ego, there is surely an equal difficulty in understanding how the Present Ego can know the Past. And yet once cease to rely on memory, and intellectual life becomes impossible: even in reasoning beyond the very simplest we have to rely on our recollection of previous steps in reasoning. A pure system of truths reasoned throughout from rational intuitions may be the philosophic ideal: but it is as true of the intellectual as of the physical life that living somehow is prior to living ideally well: and if we are to live at all, we must accept some beliefs that cannot claim Reason for their source. Is it not then, Reid urges, arbitrary and unphilosophical to acquiesce tranquilly in some of these beliefs of Common Sense, and yet obstinately to fight against others that have an equal warrant of spontaneous certitude?


In these he points out, I think, the absurdity of dismissing common sense. If you reason that the external world is not mind independent, by the time you have finished reasoning you will have used memory in some way, and surely you have no reason to think that your memories are real if what you see is not. And so he suggests this as the way to do philosophy:

Quote:
May we not rather say that it is the duty of a philosopher to give impartially a provisional acceptance to all such beliefs, and then set himself to clarify them by reflection, remove inadvertencies, confusions and contradictions, and as far as possible build together the purged results into an ordered and harmonious system of thought?


I found it to be an interesting read. And it does seem to me that we should start with our common sense belief, based on our experience.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:35 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;173906 wrote:

In these he points out, I think, the absurdity of dismissing common sense. If you reason that the external world is not mind independent, by the time you have finished reasoning you will have used memory in some way, and surely you have no reason to think that your memories are real if what you see is not. And so he suggests this as the way to do philosophy:

Great post. Yes, it's a bit silly to say the world isn't mind independent, but I would go farther than that. Where is this "mind"? What do we organize under the concept "mind"? And what we organize under the concept world? And how do these overlap? I think we do have some common sense dichotomies which are justified practically but not dialectically. And to investigate these can enrich one's life aesthetically, as well as giving one the pleasure of a more coherent conception the relation of "mind" and "world."

Here's something I have always found stirring. I'd be glad to hear your thoughts on it.

Quote:

5.62 This remark provides the key to the problem, how much truth there
is in solipsism. For what the solipsist means is quite correct; only it
cannot be said, but makes itself manifest. The world is my world: this
is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language
which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world.


5.621 The world and life are one.


5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)


5.631 There is no such thing as the subject that thinks or entertains
ideas. If I wrote a book called The World as l found it, I should have
to include a report on my body, and should have to say which parts were
subordinate to my will, and which were not, etc., this being a method of
isolating the subject, or rather of showing that in an important sense
there is no subject; for it alone could not be mentioned in that book.--


5.632 The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of
the world.


5.633 Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found? You will
say that this is exactly like the case of the eye and the visual field.
But really you do not see the eye. And nothing in the visual field
allows you to infer that it is seen by an eye.


5.6331 For the form of the visual field is surely not like this


5.634 This is connected with the fact that no part of our experience is
at the same time a priori. Whatever we see could be other than it is.
Whatever we can describe at all could be other than it is. There is no a
priori order of things.


5.64 Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are
followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of
solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the
reality co-ordinated with it.


5.641 Thus there really is a sense in which philosophy can talk
about the self in a non-psychological way. What brings the self into
philosophy is the fact that 'the world is my world'. The philosophical
self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul, with
which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit
of the world--not a part of it.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:12 pm
@Jebediah,
Sure; you can talk about the self, but if some one charges you with proving the existence of this moral form you are out of business or long on meaningless words... What is the self??? The self is a collection of meanings... What are all moral form??? All moral forms are a collection of meanings without being... Is this common sense??? If So; why have so few considered it so, and why have so many tried to apply the logic of the physical world to the world of infinite moral forms???

Can you say my world is your world... We can be fairly certain of it, but we cannot know it... If we stand upon a mountain top together looking upon a beautiful valley, a river, and a range of mountains opposite; can we know we are looking each of us upon the same scene since what we see we not only see with different eyes perceived with different "minds", but through a lense of different life experiences condition by society and education to denature nature...

I don't want to get all phenomenalogical on anyone... The great challenge in life is to prove our own existence which we cannot do objectively, but only by testimony tomorrow that we were here today... We each lend support for the existence of others in our lives, and that is the purpose of our relationships; and we might say it is only common sense that we are all living on the same earth, in the same world; but it is, after all, an act of faith...

Why do we accept so much we cannot prove... We live as if the thing proves itself, and call it common sense... In fact, we can prove very little and accept very much without proof, and again, call it common sense.. It is common non-sense... And we live with it, and it adds as much as destracts from our existence...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:18 pm
@Fido,
Fido;174053 wrote:
Sure; you can talk about the self, but if some one charges you with proving the existence of this moral form you are out of business or long on meaningless words... What is the self??? The self is a collection of meanings... What are all moral form??? All moral forms are a collection of meanings without being... Is this common sense??? If So; why have so few considered it so, and why have so many tried to apply the logic of the physical world to the world of infinite moral forms???

Can you say my world is your world... We can be fairly certain of it, but we cannot know it... If we stand upon a mountain top together looking upon a beautiful valley, a river, and a range of mountains opposite; can we know we are looking each of us upon the same scene since what we see we not only see with different eyes perceived with different "minds", but through a lense of different life experiences condition by society and education to denature nature... I don't want to get all phenomenalogical on anyone... The great challenge in life is to prove our own existence which we cannot do objectively, but only by testimony tomorrow that we were here today... We each lend support for the existence of others in our lives, and that is the purpose of our relationships; and we might say it is only common sense that we are all living on the same earth, in the same world; but it is after all, an act of faith... Why do we accept so much we cannot prove... We live as if the thing proves itself, and call it common sense... In fact, we can prove very little and accept very much without proof, and again, call it common sense.. It is common non-sense... And we live with it, and it adds as much as destracts from our existence...


I agree with all of this. What I like about Wittgenstein is that he blows up the unconsidered abstraction of the self. From there, one is forced to think and feel. The TLP which I quoted generally is a bomb dropped on all sorts of complacency. It's a sort of uncommon common sense. He shows how little the problem of life is solved with mere logic.
Quote:

On the other hand the truth of the thoughts that are here communicated
seems to me unassailable and definitive. I therefore believe myself to
have found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems.
And if I am not mistaken in this belief, then the second thing in which
the of this work consists is that it shows how little is achieved when
these problems are solved.

Quote:

6.52 We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been
answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course
there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer.


6.521 The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of
the problem. (Is not this the reason why those who have found after a
long period of doubt that the sense of life became clear to them have
then been unable to say what constituted that sense?)
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 08:04 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;174007 wrote:
5.62 This remark provides the key to the problem, how much truth there
is in solipsism. For what the solipsist means is quite correct; only it
cannot be said, but makes itself manifest. The world is my world: this
is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language
which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world.


5.621 The world and life are one.


5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)


5.631 There is no such thing as the subject that thinks or entertains
ideas. If I wrote a book called The World as l found it, I should have
to include a report on my body, and should have to say which parts were
subordinate to my will, and which were not, etc., this being a method of
isolating the subject, or rather of showing that in an important sense
there is no subject; for it alone could not be mentioned in that book.--


5.632 The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of
the world.


5.633 Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found? You will
say that this is exactly like the case of the eye and the visual field.
But really you do not see the eye. And nothing in the visual field
allows you to infer that it is seen by an eye.


5.6331 For the form of the visual field is surely not like this


5.634 This is connected with the fact that no part of our experience is
at the same time a priori. Whatever we see could be other than it is.
Whatever we can describe at all could be other than it is. There is no a
priori order of things.


5.64 Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are
followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of
solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the
reality co-ordinated with it.


5.641 Thus there really is a sense in which philosophy can talk
about the self in a non-psychological way. What brings the self into
philosophy is the fact that 'the world is my world'. The philosophical
self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul, with
which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit
of the world--not a part of it.


Man deja vu all over again. I feel as though I've read part of this from somewhere recently... Jeez I just cant put my finger on it. I cant remember his name but he said, "The World is my Representation." Its on the tip of my tongue... Oh well maybe Ill find out at a later point. :shifty:

Anyway since I have nothing of real substance to add to this thread, Im out.
 
jack phil
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 09:34 am
@Jebediah,
Thomas Paine wrote "In Defense of Common Sense"; If I were to write a philosophical treatise, it might be titled "In Defense of Nonsense".

Wink

As for the similarities between Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein... Wittgenstein was no Kantian (what else need be said?). Descartes was a solipsist, but Wittgenstein is not. Etc.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 10:50 am
@jack phil,
It is not very good philosophy if 'Common sense' is used as criterion to end discussion. I see plenty of stupid people that don` t even entertain a more abstract answer because they think it is impractical, or don` t fit with their 'common sense'.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:07 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
Good reading from the excerpt - I'd find nothing worthy of taking issue with. I would like to comment on the ideal of common sense.
[INDENT] To give some credit, credence or recognition to the ideal of common sense is not to embrace absoluteness of perceptions or experience. Common sense is just a characterization used to describe those things on which many of us are likely to agree; the simplest examples of our collective experience. Taken too far it becomes absurd and devolves into absolutism, not recognized enough and we deny that we all do share some common experiences (even if our perceptions and filters change them). Its useful in that when used judiciously it helps illustrate the "common-ness" of our experiences and the most basic of these, our conclusions.
[/INDENT]I realize, comprehend and agree that tossing about "Common Sense" as a way to justify an "Everybody knows This"-argument is overused and generally isn't much of a justification; but even so, that's not to say there aren't salient elements of our lives which can't justifiably sit upon this pedestal. It's worthiness likely depends on how and upon what precepts its used.

... just my two cents: thanks
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 01:51 pm
@jack phil,
jack;174230 wrote:
Thomas Paine wrote "In Defense of Common Sense"; If I were to write a philosophical treatise, it might be titled "In Defense of Nonsense".

Wink

As for the similarities between Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein... Wittgenstein was no Kantian (what else need be said?). Descartes was a solipsist, but Wittgenstein is not. Etc.


Oh but he was influenced by that "crude man" Schopenhauer. I never said he Witty was a Kantian. Tell you what: read the TLP and then read The World as Will and Representation. You will notice some very similar things between the two. Trust me. :cool:
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 02:38 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;174251 wrote:
It is not very good philosophy if 'Common sense' is used as criterion to end discussion. I see plenty of stupid people that don` t even entertain a more abstract answer because they think it is impractical, or don` t fit with their 'common sense'.


Perhaps it isn't clear how common sense is being used here. It isn't about what "plenty of stupid people" think:

Quote:
His essential demand, therefore, on the philosopher, is not primarily that he should make his beliefs consistent with those of the vulgar, but that he should make them consistent with his own;
But rather about your own common sense.

Consider the question "Do people ever act altruistically?"

We have all, in interacting with people and in our own actions (hopefully!) done things that are altruistic. We saw someone who needed help and we helped. It is common sense that people act altruistically.

Now, suppose someone comes along and speculates philosophically that for an action to really be altruistic it must not please or comfort the person who does it, because that would mean it is selfish. And then they argue that because we always get a pleased feeling from helping someone in need, it is never truly altruistic.

Many things that are common sense have never been thought about or justified in philosophical terms--so some people are overly impressed with a philosophical sounding counterargument (as in the altruism example). But that is not how we should do philosophy.

Quote:
Accordingly, in Reid's view it is the duty of a philosopher-his duty as a philosopher-to aim steadily and persistently at bringing the common human element of his intellectual life into clear consistency with the special philosophic element.
A conflict between common sense and philosophical reasoning is something that has to be resolved. The role of philosophy is to do just that. Thinking analytically is difficult and time consuming. We should not assume that a line of reasoning that goes contrary to common sense is correct just because we can't see the problems in that reasoning. It takes work to see the problems in reasoning.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 03:30 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;174316 wrote:
Oh but he was influenced by that "crude man" Schopenhauer. I never said he Witty was a Kantian. Tell you what: read the TLP and then read The World as Will and Representation. You will notice some very similar things between the two. Trust me. :cool:


I agree! And Wittgenstein has Kantian aspects as well, IMO. He talks about our perception of color and space and even directly addresses in-congruent counterparts.

"A right hand glove could be put on the left hand if it could be rotated in 4 dimensional space." Great line!

---------- Post added 06-07-2010 at 04:33 PM ----------

jack;174230 wrote:
Descartes was a solipsist, but Wittgenstein is not. Etc.

I agree. Wittgenstein does touch on monism, arguably, but then he says his propositions are senseless. So he's hard to pin down. Smile
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 07:28 pm
@Reconstructo,
In this essay Moore talks about Common Sense as well, and brings up this point:

Quote:
As I have explained under I., I am not at all sceptical as to the truth of such propositions as "The earth has existed for many years past." "Many human bodies have each lived for many years upon it," i.e. propositions which assert the existence of material things: on the contrary, I hold that we all know, with certainty, many such propositions to be true. But I am very sceptical as to what, in certain respects, the correct analysis of such propositions is. And this is a matter as to which I think I differ from many philosophers. Many seem to hold that there is no doubt at all as to their analysis, nor, therefore, as to the analysis of the proposition "Material things have existed," in certain respects in which I hold that the analysis of the propositions in question is extremely doubtful; and some of them, as we have seen, while holding that there is no doubt as to their analysis, seem to have doubted whether any such propositions are true. I, on the other hand, while holding that there is no doubt whatever that many such propositions are wholly true, hold also that no philosopher, hitherto, has succeeded in suggesting an analysis of them, as regards certain important points, which comes anywhere near to being certainly true.


Being skeptical of your own common sense, and un-skeptical of your own philosophical analysis seems to me to be a completely backwards way of doing philosophy.
 
jack phil
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 08:30 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;174316 wrote:
Oh but he was influenced by that "crude man" Schopenhauer. I never said he Witty was a Kantian. Tell you what: read the TLP and then read The World as Will and Representation. You will notice some very similar things between the two. Trust me. :cool:


What? I didn't say Shop was a crude man? But Shop says he is Kantian, and you said W copied Shop. I know W read Shop, but he also read the Theatatus many times (and lots of stuff), and there is a similitude thereabouts (and W is often referred to as anti-Socrates). There is not a philosopher in history that W has not been compared to in similitude. Well, maybe one, but he is no philosopher.

The thing is, his into to the TLP says it all.

Cheerio!
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2010 08:04 am
@jack phil,
Witty said that Schopenhauer was a "crude man" (but also a genius). I know you didnt say that. I dont think you understand me. Im not saying that Witty was a Kantian as you imply, but Witty took some of his ideas from Schopenhauer. There are some striking similarities, in certain parts, if you read the two works i mentioned (the "Ladder" metaphor and "I am my world" which is just another way of saying "The world is my representation").

I agree with you that there are similarities with certain philosophers, and obvious influences which Witty points out in the TLP (Russell and Frege).

Hope this clears things up.

What does the intro of the TLP have to do with this?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 10:08 am
@Jebediah,
Sorry to say, it seems only to be an elaborate verbal Goldberg Contraption, giving birth to something like Kirkegaard nonsens.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 10:15 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah wrote:

In this essay Moore talks about Common Sense as well, and brings up this point:

Quote:
As I have explained under I., I am not at all sceptical as to the truth of such propositions as "The earth has existed for many years past." "Many human bodies have each lived for many years upon it," i.e. propositions which assert the existence of material things: on the contrary, I hold that we all know, with certainty, many such propositions to be true. But I am very sceptical as to what, in certain respects, the correct analysis of such propositions is. And this is a matter as to which I think I differ from many philosophers. Many seem to hold that there is no doubt at all as to their analysis, nor, therefore, as to the analysis of the proposition "Material things have existed," in certain respects in which I hold that the analysis of the propositions in question is extremely doubtful; and some of them, as we have seen, while holding that there is no doubt as to their analysis, seem to have doubted whether any such propositions are true. I, on the other hand, while holding that there is no doubt whatever that many such propositions are wholly true, hold also that no philosopher, hitherto, has succeeded in suggesting an analysis of them, as regards certain important points, which comes anywhere near to being certainly true.


Being skeptical of your own common sense, and un-skeptical of your own philosophical analysis seems to me to be a completely backwards way of doing philosophy.


I agree, but how is this relevant to the passage by Moore? He explicitly writes that he knows these commonsense propositions for certain. So he is not skeptical of his own commonsense. And where does he give any philosophical analysis (in this passage) at all?
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 03:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Jebediah wrote:

In this essay Moore talks about Common Sense as well, and brings up this point:

Quote:
As I have explained under I., I am not at all sceptical as to the truth of such propositions as "The earth has existed for many years past." "Many human bodies have each lived for many years upon it," i.e. propositions which assert the existence of material things: on the contrary, I hold that we all know, with certainty, many such propositions to be true. But I am very sceptical as to what, in certain respects, the correct analysis of such propositions is. And this is a matter as to which I think I differ from many philosophers. Many seem to hold that there is no doubt at all as to their analysis, nor, therefore, as to the analysis of the proposition "Material things have existed," in certain respects in which I hold that the analysis of the propositions in question is extremely doubtful; and some of them, as we have seen, while holding that there is no doubt as to their analysis, seem to have doubted whether any such propositions are true. I, on the other hand, while holding that there is no doubt whatever that many such propositions are wholly true, hold also that no philosopher, hitherto, has succeeded in suggesting an analysis of them, as regards certain important points, which comes anywhere near to being certainly true.


Being skeptical of your own common sense, and un-skeptical of your own philosophical analysis seems to me to be a completely backwards way of doing philosophy.


I agree, but how is this relevant to the passage by Moore? He explicitly writes that he knows these commonsense propositions for certain. So he is not skeptical of his own commonsense. And where does he give any philosophical analysis (in this passage) at all?

What I see is a distintion between wholly true as opposed to certainly true... I think he was trying to make a point, wholly true, that if knowledge is relative from stating what is obviously and objectively true to stating a truth based upon evidence, that one must offer a grade based upon investigation and evidence... Intelligent people can state the obvious, and those who are educated to some degree can offer analysis as well, which is offering evidence too... We buy a relative level of certainty with evidence and analysis, though this does not take into account that those who are most certain are confirmed in faith and baptized in ingnorance...
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 09:50 pm
While I appreciate Pierces “ common sensism” and Griffin’s” things presupposed in practice while denied in theory” the truth or reality of common sense perceptions is to be questioned.

At one time it was common sense that heaven was above, hell was below and the earth was middle ground.

At another time
It was obvious that the earth was the center of the universe, man was the purpose and crown of creation and the soul was immortal.

In a more scientific vein it was once obvious that
Space was rigid and fixed
Time was a constant,
The mass volume and measurements of an object were the same to all observers
That events could be judged to be simultaneous
The position and velocity vectors of an electron could be measured at the same time, etc.

Of course all of these common sense perceptions about the nature of reality are wrong.

Some now hold that common sense is that the world is predominantly composed of inert insensate material objects, that free will is an illusion, that the future is fixed by the laws of nature and that there is no transcendent purpose or meaning to existence or reality.

One man’s common sense is often another man’s lack of vision or insight. Most major breakthroughs in both science and philosophy are the result of questioning the prevailing common sense of the current time.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 04:33 pm
@prothero,
I will largely agree with you.

Imo "common sense" is common stupidity, common sense will change over time, and be very individualistic.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 04:38 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

I will largely agree with you.

Imo "common sense" is common stupidity, common sense will change over time, and be very individualistic.


It is a commonsense belief that there exist other people, that there are material objects, and that the world has existed for many years. I would not call those beliefs stupid, would you?
 
 

 
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