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common sense


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In early modern writing (e.g. Descartes) the faculty responsible for coordinating the deliveries of the different senses. In this meaning the objects of common sense are the ‘common sensibles’, i.e. qualities such as extension and motion that can be detected by more than one sense. Later the term loses any special meaning, coming to refer just to the sturdy good judgement, uncontaminated by too much theory and unmoved by scepticism, that is supposed to belong to persons before they become too philosophical. Ryle once suggested that Locke invented common sense, and Russell added that none but Englishmen have had it ever since. The term became prominent in philosophy after Moore argued in ‘A Defence of Common Sense’ that no philosophical argument purporting to establish scepticism could be more certain than his common-sense convictions. Moore's knowledge that he had a hand was more certain than any philosophical premises or trains of argument purporting to show that he did not know this. See also common sense school.

Subjects: Media Studies — Philosophy.


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