Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:30 am
This is something I've been wondering about for a while. Or rather, I'd just like to view someone's thought on it.
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Common Sense, often used in example such as these:

"Why don't you tie your shoes after you put them on? It's common sense."

"You don't know 2+2? Come on dude, it's common sense."

"Bring a Jacket to school when it rains. it's common sense!"

Well, there's such a thing as common knowledge. Common knowledge is subjective to the area that you live in; Knowledge that comes naturally to you is based upon the things and people that surround you. For example, your common knowledge is different then someone who was raised into a family of cannibals. They may have different "Morals", "Perspective", or "Knowledge," based upon everything they were raised upon.

Barring the idea that common sense is equal to instinct, tell me what you think after reading this.

Is there such a thing as common sense?

If not everyone has an objective sense, based upon the knowledge they have acquired over their lifetimes, (long or short), then how can there be a common sense?

My conclusion is that common sense varies with every person, based upon what their common knowledge is. Thus, common sense isn't very common at all.
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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 01:06 am
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;110455 wrote:
This is something I've been wondering about for a while. Or rather, I'd just like to view someone's thought on it.
_________________________________________________
Common Sense, often used in example such as these:

"Why don't you tie your shoes after you put them on? It's common sense."

"You don't know 2+2? Come on dude, it's common sense."

"Bring a Jacket to school when it rains. it's common sense!"

Well, there's such a thing as common knowledge. Common knowledge is subjective to the area that you live in; Knowledge that comes naturally to you is based upon the things and people that surround you. For example, your common knowledge is different then someone who was raised into a family of cannibals. They may have different "Morals", "Perspective", or "Knowledge," based upon everything they were raised upon.

Barring the idea that common sense is equal to instinct, tell me what you think after reading this.

Is there such a thing as common sense?

If not everyone has an objective sense, based upon the knowledge they have acquired over their lifetimes, (long or short), then how can there be a common sense?

My conclusion is that common sense varies with every person, based upon what their common knowledge is. Thus, common sense isn't very common at all.


I think you should look at the following:

A Defense of Common Sense
0 Replies
 
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 01:09 am
@Quinn phil,
Thanks. I'm gonna read all of this.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 02:34 am
@Quinn phil,
Common sense is sense/knowledge that is held in common. I suppose it could be compared to a piece of property held in common.

This brings to mind an essay by Garrett Hardin called "The Tragedy of the Commons". The essay is about what happens to land that is held in common, how it is abused and wasted by the individuals who exploit it for their personal gain so that an unprotected commons eventually becomes a wasteland or garbage heap. So in a round about way it turns out to be a pretty good argument for private property.

Could the same thing happen to common sense? Can common knowledge be corrupted and exploited by various individuals for personal gain. Or is it impervious to such corruption?

Perhaps we can find here an argument against giving dogs what is sacred and throwing ones pearls before swine.
0 Replies
 
buffalobill90
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 04:38 am
@Quinn phil,
There is no such thing as common sense; the term "conscience" is derived from the same archaic notion. It's the idea that everyone shares some kind of inherent knowledge. "Instinct" is not the same - instinct is a propensity to learn certain kinds of things, such as (for humans) language, social norms, bipedal movement etc. We are not born with this knowledge, but we have evolved to pick it up very easily. In the past, the idea of common sense or common knowledge was often somewhat ethnocentric, not allowing for the differences in culture which the OP mentions.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 06:11 am
@buffalobill90,
buffalobill90;110487 wrote:
There is no such thing as common sense; the term "conscience" is derived from the same archaic notion. It's the idea that everyone shares some kind of inherent knowledge. "Instinct" is not the same - instinct is a propensity to learn certain kinds of things, such as (for humans) language, social norms, bipedal movement etc. We are not born with this knowledge, but we have evolved to pick it up very easily. In the past, the idea of common sense or common knowledge was often somewhat ethnocentric, not allowing for the differences in culture which the OP mentions.


I'm not sure common sense implies innate ideas anymore. Perhaps this is originally what it meant which is certainly interesting. If we set aside the possibility of an innate common sense can we say that there is such a thing as an acquired common sense that inevitably (or at least usually) manifests as our common learning propensities unfold within the common world? Given enough time and experience in the world this would amount to the same thing once the person reached say, the age of majority.
buffalobill90
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 07:03 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;110494 wrote:
I'm not sure common sense implies innate ideas anymore. Perhaps this is originally what it meant which is certainly interesting. If we set aside the possibility of an innate common sense can we say that there is such a thing as an acquired common sense that inevitably (or at least usually) manifests as our common learning propensities unfold within the common world? Given enough time and experience in the world this would amount to the same thing once the person reached say, the age of majority.


True, but I think the common usage of the term denotes something which everyone ought to know. Often the notion is invoked to criticise ideas which are not in line with social norms, e.g. "You can't have any common sense if you believe the world isn't flat." The term can be quite condescending and arrogant. Maybe it can be a useful idea, but it's certainly one of those useful ideas which, if taken too seriously, ends up being ignorant. One should recognise that everyone has a unique experience of the world and just because they disagree with something which is "common sense" doesn't mean they are lacking intelligence or some other faculty which others possess.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 09:12 am
@buffalobill90,
buffalobill90;110502 wrote:
True, but I think the common usage of the term denotes something which everyone ought to know. Often the notion is invoked to criticise ideas which are not in line with social norms, e.g. "You can't have any common sense if you believe the world isn't flat." The term can be quite condescending and arrogant. Maybe it can be a useful idea, but it's certainly one of those useful ideas which, if taken too seriously, ends up being ignorant. One should recognise that everyone has a unique experience of the world and just because they disagree with something which is "common sense" doesn't mean they are lacking intelligence or some other faculty which others possess.


In a more technical sense, a commonsense belief is a belief that every (or mostly everyone) has, although they may deny it. For example, that there are objects independent of perception; that other people have minds; that there is such a thing as time.
0 Replies
 
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 11:58 am
@Quinn phil,
Quote:
In a more technical sense, a commonsense belief is a belief that every (or mostly everyone) has, although they may deny it. For example, that there are objects independent of perception; that other people have minds; that there is such a thing as time.


Well, before the age of two monthes, I doubt that any of these babies no what time is. I doubt they know what a mind is, nonetheless that everybody possesses one. And keep in mind, babies are humans as well. Babies are humans who haven't mentally experienced anything.

This can all be put into a "What if" scenario, because I'm certain that it's had to've happened before. Say a baby lives in a cage, until he/she turns five. It's taught nothing. It's given minimum love, food, water, fresh air, and hygiene. Just enough to survive. It's ideas of time would be different then ours, but he would still know that there is a force that moves him forward. Something that makes him grow, (etc...)

However, would he know that everyone has a mind? There are many more whatif scenarios that are easily displayed in which children are blocked from knowledge. Knowledge of having a mind did not come to automatically as a child. Nothing but instinct did, I'm quite sure.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:03 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;110558 wrote:
Well, before the age of two monthes, I doubt that any of these babies no what time is. I doubt they know what a mind is, nonetheless that everybody possesses one. And keep in mind, babies are humans as well. Babies are humans who haven't mentally experienced anything.

This can all be put into a "What if" scenario, because I'm certain that it's had to've happened before. Say a baby lives in a cage, until he/she turns five. It's taught nothing. It's given minimum love, food, water, fresh air, and hygiene. Just enough to survive. It's ideas of time would be different then ours, but he would still know that there is a force that moves him forward. Something that makes him grow, (etc...)

However, would he know that everyone has a mind? There are many more whatif scenarios that are easily displayed in which children are blocked from knowledge. Knowledge of having a mind did not come to automatically as a child. Nothing but instinct did, I'm quite sure.


What makes you think I was talking about infants? I wasn't. Anyway, I didn't say anyone knows what time is. I said that they believe there is such a thing as time. They make appointments.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:04 pm
@Quinn phil,
i dont know if it would help me understand the concept or not, but i cant read the article now-but i saved it and will try tomorrow when i am not so tired. thanks, kenneth.

to quinn:
the term common sense is usually found in an insult, dont you think? i have been accused often enough of not having any, and have come to believe i certainly dont have any, but instead i could instantly memorize whatever i was supposed to in school, and all the numbers of accounts when i was at work and so forth. moreover, in effect i had book knowledge but didnt seem to be able to apply it to daily life. i dont know why i feel lilke i am not getting the idea across, but...in other words, i get great scores on tests but i would probably not survive long in the wilderness...or on the city streets.

i have seen illiterate people with no education or experience come up with solutions to problems that i might never have imagined. not as an exception, they just seem to know what is wrong in the first place and how to fix it. i dont know if that is because they have common sense or not-i would have thought it to be a knack for seeing what is askew. for instance i can read a map really good but i cant find my way home without one. illiterate people dont need maps or street signs or addresses.

in fact sometimes i feel it is a hindrance to have some knowledge because it tells you to look in a certain place while the person with no knowledge has no limitations.

so you might want to define common sense first, and then ask if some people have an inherent quality about them that enables them to use their faculties without depending on the library of recorded knowledge. i am sure there is such a thing as common sense, and i wish i knew how to get some...if you find out, let me know.
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:04 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quote:
True, but I think the common usage of the term denotes something which everyone ought to know. Often the notion is invoked to criticise ideas which are not in line with social norms, e.g. "You can't have any common sense if you believe the world isn't flat."


Exactly. The secondary reason to why I believe there is no 'Common sense', is because common sense is never used how it 'should be used'. The only times I've ever heard it being used is in an attempt to express common knowledge. Common knowledge would suggest that the world is round, because we live in that society today.

Common sense, some people have argued, is usage of common knowledge.

It's common knowledge that the ally down the street is dangerous. It's common sense not to step into the ally.

If that's the case, then common sense couldn't exist without common knowledge. And since everyone's common knowledge is different, then everyones common sense must be different. Thus, there is no common sense.

Quote:
What makes you think I was talking about infants? I wasn't.


I was talking about infants, because they're the perfect example for this. They're minds with no experience. They are amongst humans. If babys haven't any sense at all, then surely there is no common sense.

Quote:
so you might want to define common sense first, and then ask if some people have an inherent quality about them that enables them to use their faculties without depending on the library of recorded knowledge. i am sure there is such a thing as common sense, and i wish i knew how to get some...if you find out, let me know.


That's what I'm trying to get out of this discussion. A definition for common sense. I believe that the common in common sense could be a misleader.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:09 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;110562 wrote:
Exactly. The secondary reason to why I believe there is no 'Common sense', is because common sense is never used how it 'should be used'. The only times I've ever heard it being used is in an attempt to express common knowledge. Common knowledge would suggest that the world is round, because we live in that society today.

Common sense, some people have argued, is usage of common knowledge.

It's common knowledge that the ally down the street is dangerous. It's common sense not to step into the ally.

If that's the case, then common sense couldn't exist without common knowledge. And since everyone's common knowledge is different, then everyones common sense must be different.


As I pointed out earlier, having commonsense is one thing. But the notion of commonsense beliefs, in philosophy is something different. They should not be confused. Read the Moore article I sent you.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:14 pm
@Quinn phil,
Quinn;110562 wrote:
Exactly. The secondary reason to why I believe there is no 'Common sense', is because common sense is never used how it 'should be used'. The only times I've ever heard it being used is in an attempt to express common knowledge. Common knowledge would suggest that the world is round, because we live in that society today.

Common sense, some people have argued, is usage of common knowledge.

It's common knowledge that the ally down the street is dangerous. It's common sense not to step into the ally.

If that's the case, then common sense couldn't exist without common knowledge. And since everyone's common knowledge is different, then everyones common sense must be different. Thus, there is no common sense.


maybe common sense and common knowledge are the same thing, but i didnt think so. maybe the person with common sense structures his behavior based on what common knowledge is, whereas the person with no common sense just goes about willy nilly oblivious to common knowledge. that does sound like me, come to think of it...

common knowledge is not the same everywhere either. it is not common knowledge where i live that an alley is dangerous, so if someone from here were transported to where you live, they would appear to have no common sense because they wouldnt realize there was any danger lurking in alleys.

being intuitive is another handy thing, but i dont think it is the same as common sense. if common sense were really a good thing to have, one would be able to know some alleys had danger and others didnt. but that would be more of an intuition than anything else.

so you are right actually. the level of accuracy in a person's common sense and his awareness of common knowledge is what makes the difference.

---------- Post added 12-12-2009 at 11:46 PM ----------

kennethamy;110563 wrote:
As I pointed out earlier, having commonsense is one thing. But the notion of commonsense beliefs, in philosophy is something different. They should not be confused. Read the Moore article I sent you.


oh kenneth, dont tell me there is a formal usage of a term called commonsense beliefs! i definitely have no idea about them, so do read my posts with that in mind. in the meantime i am going to sleep and will read the article before i think about this any more!
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:22 pm
@salima,
salima;110566 wrote:
maybe common sense and common knowledge are the same thing, but i didnt think so. maybe the person with common sense structures his behavior based on what common knowledge is, whereas the person with no common sense just goes about willy nilly oblivious to common knowledge. that does sound like me, come to think of it...

common knowledge is not the same everywhere either. it is not common knowledge where i live that an alley is dangerous, so if someone from here were transported to where you live, they would appear to have no common sense because they wouldnt realize there was any danger lurking in alleys.

being intuitive is another handy thing, but i dont think it is the same as common sense. if common sense were really a good thing to have, one would be able to know some alleys had danger and others didnt. but that would be more of an intuition than anything else.

so you are right actually. the level of accuracy in a person's common sense and his awareness of common knowledge is what makes the difference.

---------- Post added 12-12-2009 at 11:46 PM ----------



oh kenneth, dont tell me there is a formal usage of a term called commonsense beliefs! i definitely have no idea about them, so do read my posts with that in mind. in the meantime i am going to sleep and will read the article before i think about this any more!


The notion of (having) commonsense refers to the ability of a person to make intelligent practical decisions, and plan intelligent action. That is not what philosophers talk about when they talk about commonsense beliefs. Commonsense beliefs are beliefs that mostly everyone has about the world. Some examples are: the belief that there are objects that are independent of mind; that there are other people in the world; that the Earth as existed for many years past, and so on. As I said, these are beliefs that people holds even when they deny they hold them, although those people are not being insincere. You have, I suppose, those commonsense beliefs too, although you may not have consciously thought about them.
0 Replies
 
Quinn phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:33 pm
@salima,
Quote:
The notion of (having) commonsense refers to the ability of a person to make intelligent practical decisions, and plan intelligent action. That is not what philosophers talk about when they talk about commonsense beliefs. Commonsense beliefs are beliefs that mostly everyone has about the world. Some examples are: the belief that there are objects that are independent of mind; that there are other people in the world; that the Earth as existed for many years past, and so on. As I said, these are beliefs that people holds even when they deny they hold them, although those people are not being insincere. You have, I suppose, those commonsense beliefs too, although you may not have consciously thought about them.


I have to admit, that's an intersting topic. However, I was talking about the regularly used common sense. I believe that the common sense you hear being used daily is at fault, just because of the word Common, inside of it. Subconsious thoughts STILL come from our experiences, however. No matter what our experiences may be, we express subconsious thoughts based on a branch of our solid knowledge.

That really is an interesting "Commonsense" that I've never discussed.
0 Replies
 
Emil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:44 pm
@Quinn phil,
Appealing to common sense is sometimes close to or equivalent to committing an ad populum fallacy.

I almost never appeal to common sense. Where would I ever need to appeal to common sense? That some reasoning is common does not imply that it is correct. Didn't Hume suggest that opposite once? That may be the case in certain contexts.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 01:01 pm
@Emil,
Emil;110583 wrote:
Appealing to common sense is sometimes close to or equivalent to committing an ad populum fallacy.

I almost never appeal to common sense. Where would I ever need to appeal to common sense? That some reasoning is common does not imply that it is correct. Didn't Hume suggest that opposite once? That may be the case in certain contexts.


I don't believe that I am appealing to commonsense. Moore argues that not only are commonsense beliefs (or the kind he lists) true, but that we all know that they are true. But he argues for that. So he doesn't appeal to them. And, also, it is important to notice that he does not appeal to commonsense beliefs to settle some questions. He does not use them as some kind of reason or premise. All he claims is that they are true, and that we all know they are true.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 02:27 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;110591 wrote:
I don't believe that I am appealing to commonsense. Moore argues that not only are commonsense beliefs (or the kind he lists) true, but that we all know that they are true. But he argues for that. So he doesn't appeal to them. And, also, it is important to notice that he does not appeal to commonsense beliefs to settle some questions. He does not use them as some kind of reason or premise. All he claims is that they are true, and that we all know they are true.


ok, i couldnt sleep so i read that article, the whole thing. sometimes it made me laugh, but really i think it is a very tangled up lot of words. yes, the commonsense beliefs he is talking about as far as i could fathom are like people used to have ages ago when they thought everything moved and the earth stood still. that is what their senses told them and everyone thought the same thing. but they learned they were wrong. so those can be changed. some things we believe today through commonsense may well prove to be totally false at some future point in time. but for the purpose of ease in discussion at the present time we would take the liberty of speaking, discussing, speculating, etc as though they are true.

but what i gather quinn was talking about was that thing i wish i had more of, which you perfectly described in your post. actually in that context, what is the purpose of using the word 'common'? if a person has no common sense, they really dont have any sense at all, do they? and by sense i dont mean as relates to perception but what would be the opposite of nonsense...when a person doesnt make sense he is inconsistent, etc...

so i think if they kept the term commonsense beliefs as a philosophical term it would be fine. we have to rewrite the dictionary, that's all...
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 02:45 pm
@salima,
salima;110617 wrote:
ok, i couldnt sleep so i read that article, the whole thing. sometimes it made me laugh, but really i think it is a very tangled up lot of words. yes, the commonsense beliefs he is talking about as far as i could fathom are like people used to have ages ago when they thought everything moved and the earth stood still. that is what their senses told them and everyone thought the same thing. but they learned they were wrong. so those can be changed. some things we believe today through commonsense may well prove to be totally false at some future point in time. but for the purpose of ease in discussion at the present time we would take the liberty of speaking, discussing, speculating, etc as though they are true.



So you think that for all we know, we may someday find out that there are no other people than us; or that the Sun and Moon would not exist unless people existed; or that we really have no body-no hands, no eyes, no head? Or that the world was created about five minutes ago? Hmmm.
 

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