On the question of precisely what role commonsense (or related datum like folk psychology, trust in pre-theoretic/intuitive judgments, etc.) should have in reigning in the possible excesses of our philosophical methods, the so-called ‘continental’ answer to this question, for the vast majority, would be “as little as possible”, whereas the analytic answer for the vast majority would be “a reasonably central one”. While this difference at the level of both rhetoric and meta-philosophy is sometimes – perhaps often (...) – problematised by the actual philosophical practices of representative philosophers of either tradition, I will argue that this norm (and its absence) nonetheless continues to play an important justificatory role in relation to the use of some rather different methodological practices. In particular, many analytic philosophers not only explicitly invoke the value of commonsense, but they also implicitly value it via techniques like conceptual analysis that want to explicate folk psychology and/or lay bare what is already embedded in the linguistic norms of a given culture, the widespread use of thought experiments and the way they function as ‘intuition pumps’, as well as the general aim to achieve ‘reflective equilibrium’ between our intuitions and reflective judgments in epistemology and political philosophy. Such methods, I will argue, enshrine a conservative, or, more positively, a modest understanding of the philosophical project in that it is invested in cohering with both a given body of knowledge and commonsense. These methods are notably less perspicuous in continental philosophy. To bring some of the reasons why this might be so to the fore, this paper considers Deleuze’s sustained attack on both good and commonsense, which he argues are fundamental to the prevalence of a dogmatic image of thought. If Deleuze is right about this, and if the analytic tradition distils and perfects certain methods that are closely associated with this image of thought, then we have here a rather stark methodological contrast that calls for elaboration and evaluation. (shrink)
This paper presents a response to the question of the relationship between science and reality. It rejects the anti-realist claim that we are unable to acquire knowledge of reality in favour of the realist view that science yields knowledge of the external world. But what world is that? Some argue that science leads to the overthrow of our commonsense view of the world. Commonsense is “stone-age metaphysics” to be rejected as the false theory of our primitive ancestors. (...) Against such eliminativists about commonsense, it is argued that science both preserves and explains commonsense experience of the world. Though science may lead to the overthrow of deeply held beliefs, commonsense reflects a more basic and durable level of experience. Commonsense beliefs are well-confirmed beliefs which are vindicated by their role in successful practical action each and every day. Commonsense provides a firm basis on which to establish the realist approach to science. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the circumstances in which it would be right to revise a common-sense psychological categorisation -- such as the common-sense categorisation of emotions -- in the light of the results of empirical investigation. I argue that an answer to that question, familiar from eliminitivist arguments, should be rejected, and suggest that the issue turns on the ontological commitments of the explanations that common-sense psychological states enter into.
Noah Lemos defends the commonsense tradition--the view that permits us to justify the philosophical inquiry of many of the things we ordinarily think we know. He discusses the main features of this tradition as expounded by Thomas Reid, G.E. Moore and Roderick Chisholm in a text that will appeal to students and philosophers in epistemology and ethics.
The contributors to this volume examine current controversies about the importance of commonsense psychology for our understanding of the human mind. Commonsense provides a familiar and friendly psychological scheme by which to talk about the mind. Its categories (belief, desire, intention, consciousness, emotion, and so on) tend to portray the mind as quite different from the rest of nature, and thus irreducible to physical matters and its laws. In this volume a variety of positions (...) on commonsense psychology from critical to supportive, from exegetical to speculative, are represented. Among the questions posed are: Is commonsense psychology an empirical theory, a body of analytic knowledge, a practice, or a strategy? If it is a legitimate enterprise can it be naturalized or not? If it is not legitimate can it be eliminated? Is its fate tied to our understanding of consciousness? Should we approach its concepts and generalizations from the standpoint of conceptual analysis or from the philosophy of science? (shrink)
Integration of ontologies begins with establishing mappings between their concept entries. We map categories from the largest manually-built ontology, Cyc, onto Wikipedia articles describing corresponding concepts. Our method draws both on Wikipedia’s rich but chaotic hyperlink structure and Cyc’s carefully defined taxonomic and common-sense knowledge. On 9,333 manual alignments by one person, we achieve an F-measure of 90%; on 100 alignments by six human subjects the average agreement of the method with the subject is close to their agreement (...) with each other. We cover 62.8% of Cyc categories relating to common-sense knowledge and discuss what further information might be added to Cyc given this substantial new alignment. (shrink)
Is it a good time to be alive? Is ours a good society to be alive in? Is it possible to have a good life in our time? And finally, does a good life consist of having a good time? Are happiness and “a good life” interchangeable? These are the questions that Mortimer Adler addresses himself to. The heart of the book lies in its conception of the good life for man, which provides the standard for measuring a century, a (...) society, or a culture: for upon that turns the meaning of each man’s primary moral right – his right to the pursuit of happiness. The moral philosophy that Dr. Adler expounds in terms of this conception he calls “the ethics of commonsense,” because it is as a defense and development of the common-sense answer to the question “can I really make a good life for myself?”. (shrink)
What is commonsense? -- Back in time -- How does commonsense work -- Understanding commonsense -- More than commonsense -- Commonsense and mistakes -- Animal commonsense -- More than commonsense -- Commonsense nonsense -- Commonsense test.
Peter van Inwagen and Colin McGinn hold that there are strong arguments for strict incompatibilism, i.e. for the claim that the free will thesis (F) is inconsistent not just with determinism but with the negation of determinism as well. Interestingly, both authors deny that these arguments are apt to justify the claim that (F) is false. I argue that van Inwagen and McGinn are right in taking the fact that epistemic commitment to (F) is deeply rooted in common (...) class='Hi'>sense to cast doubt on arguments to the conclusion that (F) is false. However, instead of declaring free will to be a mystery (van Inwagen) or claiming that the problem of free will amounts to a problem whose correct solution is cognitively closed to human intellect (McGinn), I propose to simply view the problem of free will as a hard problem – its hardness being due to the fact that it involves a large variety of concepts whose correct explication is philosophically moot. (shrink)
Can there be a theory-free experience? And what would be the object of such an experience. Drawing on ideas set out by Husserl in the “Crisis” and in the second book of his “Ideas”, the paper presents answers to these questions in such a way as to provide a systematic survey of the content and ontology of commonsense. In the second part of the paper Husserl’s ideas on the relationship between the common-sense world (what he (...) called the ‘life-world’) and the world of physical theory are subjected to a critical evaluation. The relation of Husserl’s ideas to current work in folk psychology and naive physics and to the direct realism of J. J. Gibson are also treated. (shrink)
In this paper I set out to solve the problem of how the world as we experience it, full of colours and other sensory qualities, and our inner experiences, can be reconciled with physics. I discuss and reject the views of J. J. C. Smart and Rom Harré. I argue that physics is concerned only to describe a selected aspect of all that there is – the causal aspect which determines how events evolve. Colours and other sensory qualities, lacking causal (...) efficacy, are ignored by physics and cannot be predicted by physical theory. Even though physics is silent about sensory qualities, they nevertheless exist objectively in the world – in one sense of “objective” at least. (shrink)
Introspective reports are used as sources of information about other minds, in both everyday life and science. Many scientists and philosophers consider this practice unjustified, while others have made the untestable assumption that introspection is a truthful method of private observation. I argue that neither skepticism nor faith concerning introspective reports are warranted. As an alternative, I consider our everyday, commonsensical reliance on each other’s introspective reports. When we hear people talk about their minds, we neither refuse to learn from (...) nor blindly accept what they say. Sometimes we accept what we are told, other times we reject it, and still other times we take the report, revise it in light of what we believe, then accept the modified version. Whatever we do, we have (implicit) reasons for it. In developing a sound methodology for the scientific use of introspective reports, we can take our commonsense treatment of introspective reports and make it more explicit and rigorous. We can discover what to infer from introspective reports in a way similar to how we do it every day, but with extra knowledge, methodological care, and precision. Sorting out the use of introspective reports as sources of data is going to be a painstaking, piecemeal task, but it promises to enhance our science of the mind and brain. (shrink)
A lógica, considerada como uma disciplina técnica iniciada por Aristóteles e tipicamente representada pela variedade de cálculos lógicos modernos, constitui um esclarecimento e refinamento de uma convicção e prática presentes no senso comum, ou seja, o fato de que os seres humanos crêem que a verdade pode ser adquirida não apenas por evidência imediata, mas também por meio de argumentos. Como uma primeira aproximação, a lógica pode ser vista como um registro “descritivo” das principais formas de argumento presentes no senso (...) comum, mas o fato de que alguns desses padrões possam realmente permitir a derivação de consequências falsas a partir de premissas verdadeiras impõe a tarefa de tornar explícitos que padrões correspondem a um “raciocínio correto” e quais não. Nesse ponto, a lógica (que contém a apresentação de tais padrões) parece ser dotada de uma característica “normativa”. Isso equivale a dizer se pretende que os cálculos lógicos espelhem adequadamente a noção intuitiva de “consequência lógica” e que nesse sentido eles não podem ser totalmente arbitrários ou convencionais, mas devem satisfazer certos requisitos básicos tais como as condições de correção e (tanto quanto possível) de completude semântica. Em tal forma eles são “julgados” de acordo com os requisitos fundamentais presentes no nível do senso comum e aparecem como “idealizações” das espécies de raciocínio praticadas no senso comum. Por essa razão também vários tipos de cálculos lógicos são inteiramente justificados uma vez que tornam explícitos, de uma forma idealizada, os modos concretos de raciocinar que são impostos pelo particular domínio de referência da disciplina na qual são usados e que são basicamente reconhecidos no senso comum. DOI: 10.5007/1808-1711.2011v15n1p15. (shrink)
I. The framework. 1, Aristotle's project and methods. 2, The perceptual capacity of the soul. 3, The sensory apparatus. 4, The commonsense and the related capacities -- II. The terminology. 1, Overlooked occurrences of the phrase 'commonsense'. 2, De anima III.1 425a27. 3, De partibus animalium IV.10 686a31. 4, De memoria et reminiscentia 1 450a10. 5, De anima III.7 431b5. 6, Conclusions on the terminology -- III. Functions of the commonsense. 1, (...) Simultaneous perception and cross-modal binding. 2, Perceptual discrimination. 3, Waking, sleep, and control of the senses. 4, Perceiving that what we see and hear, and monitoring of the senses. 5, Other roles of the commonsense -- Conclusion. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to commonsense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm's mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes (...) Lewis's four-dimensionalist assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
Moral luck poses a problem for out conception of responsibility because it highlights a tension between morality and lack of control. Michael Slote’s common-sense virtue ethics claims to avoid this problem. However there are a number of objections to this claim. Firstly, it is not clear that Slote fully appreciates the problem posed by moral luck. Secondly, Slote’s move from the moral to the ethical is problematic. Thirdly it is not clear why we should want to abandon judgements (...) of moral blame in favour of judgements of ethical deplorability. Finally this paper defends an alternative solution to the problem of moral luck, which focuses on judgements of probability, but which has been rejected by Slote. (shrink)
There has been some recent optimism that addressing the question of how we distinguish sensory modalities will help us consider whether there are limits on a scientific understanding of perceptual states. For example, Block has suggested that the way we distinguish sensory modalities indicates that perceptual states have qualia which at least resist scientific characterization. At another extreme, Keeley argues that our common-sense way of distinguishing the senses in terms of qualitative properties is misguided, and offers a scientific (...) eliminativism about common-sense modalities which avoids appeal to qualitative properties altogether. I’ll argue contrary to Keeley that qualitative properties are necessary for distinguishing senses, and contrary to Block that our common-sense distinction doesn’t indicate that perceptual states have qualia. A non-qualitative characterization of perceptual states isn’t needed to avoid the potential limit on scientific understanding imposed by qualia. (shrink)
The priority monist holds that the cosmos is the only fundamental object, of which every other concrete object is a dependent part. One major argument against monism goes back to Russell, who claimed that pluralism is favoured by commonsense. However, Jonathan Schaffer turns this argument on its head and uses it to defend priority monism. He suggests that commonsense holds that the cosmos is a whole, of which ordinary physical objects are arbitrary portions, and (...) that arbitrary portions depend for their existence on the existence of the whole. In this paper, we challenge Schaffer’s claim that the parts of the cosmos are all arbitrary portions. We suggest that there is a way of carving up the universe such that at least some of its parts are not arbitrary. We offer two arguments in support of this claim. First, we shall outline semantic reasons in its favour: in order to accept that empirical judgements are made true or false by the way the world is, one must accept that the cosmos includes parts whose existence is not arbitrary. Second, we offer an ontological argument: in order for macro-physical phenomena to exist, there must be some micro-physical order which they depend upon, and this order must itself be non-arbitrary. We conclude that Schaffer’s commonsense argument for monism cannot be made to work. (shrink)
In a series of publications, Eli Hirsch has presented a sustained defense of common-sense ontology. Hirsch's argument relies crucially on a meta-ontological position sometimes known as ‘superficialism’. Hirsch's argument from superficialism to common-sense ontology is typically resisted on the grounds that superficialism is implausible. In this paper, I present an alternative argument for common-sense ontology, one that relies on (what I argue is) a much more plausible meta-ontological position, which I call ‘constructivism’. Note well: (...) I will not quite argue that constructivism is true; merely that it is significantly more plausible than superficialism, and consequently affords a safer route to common-sense ontology. Thus my main goal in the paper is not quite to establish common-sense ontology, nor for that matter to refute Hirsch's argument for it. My goal is, in a way, more expressive than argumentative: I wish to articulate a novel meta-ontological position, one that I take to be in no way obviously less plausible than already familiar positions, and to point out that the position probably leads to common-sense ontology. I open, in section 1, with a discussion of Hirsch's argument and the main objection to it. I then develop, in section 2, a sketch of the alternative meta-ontology I have in mind. I close, in section 3, with the argument that this alternative meta-ontology, too, leads to common-sense ontology. (shrink)
Simulation constraints cannot help in explaining afterlife beliefs in general because belief in an afterlife is a precondition for running a simulation. Instead, an explanation may be found by examining more deeply our common-sense dualistic conception of the mind or soul.
By the middle of the eighteenth century the new science had challenged the intellectual primacy of common experience in favor of recondite, expert and even counter-intuitive knowledge increasingly mediated by specialized instruments. Meanwhile modern philosophy had also problematized the perceptions of common experience - in the case of David Hume this included our perception of causal relations in nature, a fundamental precondition of scientific endeavor.In this article I argue that, in responding to the 'problem of induction' as advanced (...) by Hume, Reid reformulated Aristotelian foundationalism in distinctly modern terms. An educator and mathematician self-consciously working within the framework of the new science, Reid articulated a philosophical foundation for natural knowledge anchored in the human constitution and in processes of adjudication in an emerging modern public sphere of enlightened discourse. Reid thereby transformed one of the bases of Aristotelian science - common experience - into a philosophically and socially justified notion of 'commonsense'. Reid's intellectual concerns had as much to do with the philosophy of science as they did with moral philosophy or epistemology proper, and were bound up with wider social and scientific changes taking place in the early modern period. (shrink)
Aside from brute force, there are several philosophically respectable ways of eliminating the mental. In recent years the most popular elimination strategy has been directed against our commonsense or folk psychological understanding of the mental. The strategy goes by the name of eliminative materialism (or eliminativism, in short). The motivation behind this strategy seems to be the following. If commonsense psychology can be construed as the principled theory of the mental, whose vocabulary and principles (...) implicitly define what counts as mental, then eliminating the theory is eliminating its subject matter. If the theory is shown to be false, then its subject matter does not exist. If, in other words, commonsense psychology can be shown to describe and explain nothing real in human cognition, then the mental itself is a fiction. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between common-sense psychology (CSP) and scientific psychology (SP) — which we could call the mind-mind problem. CSP has come under much attack recently, most of which is thought to be unjust or misguided. This paper's first section examines the many differences between the aims, interests, explananda, explanantia, methodology, conceptual frameworks, and relationships to the neurosciences, that divide CSP and SP. Each of the two is valid within its own territory, and there is no (...) competition between them — primarily because CSP is not, and has no interest in being, a scientific theory. In the second section some implications are drawn. First, neither CSP nor SP has the mind-body problem in its familiar form. Second, CSP, for excellent reasons, is not equipped to handle irrational or non-rational behaviour; there are some grounds for believing that this can and should be the task of SP. Third, philosophical psychology, or armchair theories of action, perception, etc., are doomed to failure. And, fourth, the realm of the psychological is so heterogeneous that no single model for either CSP or SP is likely to succeed. (shrink)
Thomas Reid is often misread as defending commonsense, if at all, only by relying on illicit premises about God or our natural faculties. On these theological or reliabilist misreadings, Reid makes commonsense assertions where he cannot give arguments. This paper attempts to untangle Reid's defense of commonsense by distinguishing four arguments: (a) the argument from madness, (b) the argument from natural faculties, (c) the argument from impotence, and (d) the argument from (...) practical commitment. Of these, (a) and (c) do rely on problematic premises that are no more secure than claims of commonsense itself. Yet (b) and (d) do not. This conclusion can be established directly by considering the arguments informally, but one might still worry that there is an implicit premise in them. In order to address this concern, I reconstruct the arguments in the framework of subjective Bayesianism. The worry becomes this: Do the arguments rely on specific values for the prior probability of some premises? Reid's appeals to our prior cognitive and practical commitments do not. Rather than relying on specific probability assignments, they draw on things that are part of the Bayesian framework itself, such as the nature of observation and the connection between belief and action. Contra the theological or reliabilist readings, the defense of commonsense does not require indefensible premises. (shrink)
This paper examines two recent objections against contextualism. The first is that contextualists are unable to assert their own position, and the second is that contextualists are forced to side with common-sense against scepticism. It is argued that once we get clear on the commitments of contextualism, neither objection succeeds in what it aims to show.
Economic concepts and methods are used to throw light on some aspects of common-sense ethics and the difference between it and Utilitarianism. (1) Very few exceptions are allowed to the rules of common-sense ethics, because of the cost of information required to justify an exception to Conscience and to other people. No such stringency characterizes Utilitarianism, an abstract system constructed by philosophers. (2) Rule Utilitarianism is neither consistent with common-sense ethics, nor does it maximize (...) utility as has been claimed for it. The same is true of more recent variants of Utilitarianism. (3) Second best and first best are usually identical in common-sense ethics. They are often identical in Utilitarianism when a moral situation can be represented by a Prisoner's Dilemma. However, problems arise in permissive forms of Utilitarianism when it is not obvious that second best should be applied. (shrink)
Kant’s reputation for making absolutist claims about universal and necessary conditions for the possibility of experience are put here in the broader context of his goals for the Critical philosophy. It is shown that within that context, Kant’s claims can be seen as considerably more innocuous than they are traditionally regarded, underscoring his deep respect for “commonsense” and sharing surprisingly similar goals with Wittgenstein in terms of what philosophy can, and at least as importantly cannot, provide.
I discuss the role played by ordinary or everyday experience in the origin of philosophy. I begin with a discussion of the disappearance of production from the tripartite Aristotelian division of the arts and sciences, and indicate how production reappears as the assimilation of both theory and practice. If knowing is making, then there is no distinction between philosophy and poetry. In particular, the everyday or pre-theoretical world loses its status as the original source and subject-matter of philosophy It becomes (...) an artifact, and in the age of science, an artifact of the "folk-world." The result is the deterioration of human nature, and science is deprived of its human significance. The first step back to clarity is to show that words like "reason" and "good," the core of moral competence, are identical at their root with phronesisor the rationality of commonsense. (shrink)
I defend, in this paper, a version of a philosophy of commonsense. I have use of some things from Reid's account of these matters, others from Wittgenstein's. Scepticism looms large—as do the questions of arguments for and examples of commonsense. At least two different notions of commonsense emerge, one of which has often been overlooked by philosophers.
On the traditional deontic framework, what is required (what morality demands) and what is optimal (what morality recommends) can't be distinguished and hence they can't both be represented. Although the morally optional can be represented, the supererogatory (exceeding morality's demands), one of its proper subclasses, cannot be. The morally indifferent, another proper subclass of the optional-one obviously disjoint from the supererogatory-is also not representable. Ditto for the permissibly suboptimal and the morally significant. Finally, the minimum that morality allows finds no (...) place in the traditional scheme. With a focus on the question, What would constitute a hospitable logical neighborhood for the concept of supererogation?, I present and motivate an enriched logical and semantic framework for representing all these concepts of commonsense morality. (shrink)
Scott Sehon argues for a complex view about the relation between commonsense psychology and the physical sciences.1 He rejects any sort of Cartesian dualism and believes that the common-sense psychological facts supervene on the physical facts. Nevertheless he asserts that there is an important respect in which common-sense psychology is independent of the physical sciences. Despite supervenience, we are not to expect any sort of reduction of common-sense psychology to physical science, nor are we (...) to expect the physical sciences to conﬂict with common-sense psychology. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman has argued that the common-sense characterological psychology employed in virtue ethics is rooted not in unbiased observation of close acquaintances, but rather in the ‘fundamental attribution error’. If this is right, then philosophers cannot rely on their intuitions for insight into characterological psychology, and it might even be that there is no such thing as character. This supports the idea, urged by John Doris and Stephen Stich, that we should rely exclusively on experimental psychology for our (...) explanations of behaviour. The purported ‘fundamental attribution error’ cannot play the explanatory role required of it, however, and anyway there is no experimental evidence that we make such an error. It is true that trait-attribution often goes wrong, but this is best explained by a set of difficulties that beset the explanation of other people’s behaviour, difficulties that become less acute the better we know the agent. This explanation allows that we can gain genuine insight into character on the basis of our intuitions, though claims about the actual distribution of particular traits and the correlations between them must be based on more objective data. (shrink)
Commonsense is on the one hand a certain set of processes of natural cognition - of speaking, reasoning, seeing, and so on. On the other hand commonsense is a system of beliefs (of folk physics, folk psychology and so on). Over against both of these is the world of commonsense, the world of objects to which the processes of natural cognition and the corresponding belief-contents standardly relate. What are the structures of (...) this world? How does the scientific treatment of this world relate to traditional and contemporary metaphysics and formal ontology? Can we embrace a thesis of common-sense realism to the effect that the world of commonsense exists uniquely? Or must we adopt instead a position of cultural relativism which would assign distinct worlds of commonsense to each group and epoch? The present paper draws on recent work in computer science (especially in the fields of naive and qualitative physics), in perceptual and developmental psychology, and in cognitive anthropology, in order to consider in a new light these and related questions and to draw conclusions for the methodology and philosophical foundations of the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
The greatest philosopher of the twentieth century may not have been Wittgenstein, or Russell, or Quine (and he certainly wasn’t Heidegger), but he may have been a somewhat obscure and conservative Australian named David Stove (1927-94). If he wasn’t the greatest philosopher of the century, Stove was certainly the funniest and most dazzling defender of commonsense to be numbered among the ranks of last century’s thinkers, better even—by far—than G. E. Moore and J. L. Austin. The twentieth (...) century was not a period in which philosophers distinguished themselves as essayists, or even as capable of writing interestingly on any subject outside their speciality (or even within it). Stove, though, was an essayist, polemicist, and wit of the highest order, rather like a super-intelligent H. L. Mencken. A heavyweight admirer was once led to write that “Reading Stove is like watching Fred Astaire dance. You don’t wish you were Fred Astaire, you are just glad to have been around to see him in action.”. (shrink)
Significant attention has been paid to Berkeley's account of perception; however, the interpretations of Berkeley's account of perception by suggestion are either incomplete or mistaken. In this paper I begin by examining a common interpretation of suggestion, the 'Propositional Account'. I argue that the Propositional Account is inadequate and defend an alternative, non-propositional, account. I then address George Pitcher's objection that Berkeley's view of sense perception forces him to adopt a 'non-conciliatory' attitude towards commonsense. I (...) argue that Pitcher's charge is no longer plausible once we recognize that Berkeley endorses the non-propositional sense of mediate perception. I close by urging that the non-propositional interpretation of Berkeley's account of mediate perception affords a greater appreciation of Berkeley's attempt to bring a philosophical account of sense perception in line with some key principles of commonsense. While Berkeley's account of perception and physical objects permits physical objects to be immediately perceived by some of the senses, they are, most often, mediately perceived. But for Berkeley this is not a challenge to commonsense since commonsense requires only that we perceive objects by our senses and that they are, more or less, as we perceive them. Mediate perception by suggestion is, for Berkeley, as genuine a form of perception as immediate perception, and both are compatible with Berkeley's understanding of the demands of commonsense. (shrink)
Review of Avital Wohlman, Al-Ghazali, Averroës and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: CommonSense and Philosophy in Islam, Translated by David Burrell Content Type Journal Article Pages 637-639 DOI 10.1007/s11841-010-0207-3 Authors Scott Girdner, Western Kentucky University, 1906 college Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 4.
According to Reid, opinions that contradict the principles of commonsense are not only false but also absurd. Nature has given us an emotion that reveals the absurdity of an opinion: the emotion of ridicule. An appeal to ridicule in philosophical arguments may easily be discounted as a logical fallacy in the same manner as an appeal to the common consent of people. This essay traces the origins of Reid's defense of ridicule in the works of Addison, (...) Hutcheson, Shaftesbury and Campbell. Reid rejected a non-epistemic view of the sense of ridicule. According to Reid, ridicule includes both a feeling and a particular act of judgment based on the principles of commonsense. (shrink)
Epistemic circularity occurs when a subject forms the belief that a faculty F is reliable through the use of F. Although this is often thought to be vicious, externalist theories generally don't rule it out. For some philosophers, this is a reason to reject externalism. However, Michael Bergmann defends externalism by drawing on the tradition of commonsense in two ways. First, he concedes that epistemically circular beliefs cannot answer a subject's doubts about her cognitive faculties. But, he (...) argues, subjects don't have such doubts, so epistemically circular beliefs are rarely called upon to play this role. Second, following Thomas Reid, Bergmann argues that we have noninferential, though epistemically circular, knowledge that our faculties are reliable. I argue, however, that Bergmann's view is undermined by doubts a subject should have and that there is no plausible explanation for how we can have noninferential knowledge that our faculties are reliable. (shrink)
The Claims of CommonSense investigates the importance of ideas developed by Cambridge philosophers between the World Wars for the social sciences concerning commonsense, vague concepts, and ordinary language. John Coates examines the thought of Moore, Ramsey, Wittgenstein and Keynes, and traces their common drift away from early beliefs about the need for precise concepts and a canonical notation in analysis. He argues that Keynes borrowed from Wittgenstein and Ramsey their reappraisal of vague concepts, (...) and developed the novel argument that when analysing something as complex as social reality, theory might be simplified by using concepts which lack sharp boundaries. Coates then contrasts this conclusion with the view shared by two contemporary philosophical paradigms - formal semantics and Continental post-structuralism - that the vagueness of ordinary language inevitably leads to interpretive indeterminacy. Developing a link between Cambridge philosophy and current work on complexity, vague predicates, and fuzzy logic, he argues that Wittgenstein's and Keynes's ideas on the economy of ordinary language present a mediating route for the social sciences between these philosophical paradigms. (shrink)
Review: Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology. Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology Jeanette Kennett New York Oxford University Press 2001 viii + 229 Hardback US$45 By Jeanette Kennett. Oxford University Press. New York. Pp. viii + 229. Hardback:US$45.
Almost everybody believes, but nobody has conclusively shown, that commonsense psychology is a descriptive body of knowledge about the mind, the way physics is about elementary particles or medicine about bodily conditions. Of course, commonsense psychology helps itself to many notions about the mind. This does not show that commonsense psychology is about the mind. Physics also helps itself to plenty of mathematical notions, without being about mathematical entities and relations. Employment (...) of notions about the mind does not by itself establish the nature and business of commonsense psychology. To find out what the latter's notions are about requires finding out what they are for. To find out what they are for, we should start by asking who employs them in what contexts and for what reasons. If we consider seriously these questions, we should not be too surprised to find out that: (1) A subject is an agent busily pursuing his worldly interests. In the process, he encodes, operates on, can be read for, and often deliberately conveys information about his current as well as past or future cognitive and behavioral states, and about the world around him, as it was, is, and could be. (2) A sense maker is also a busy agent. To pursue her worldly.. (shrink)
Bas van Fraassen endorses both common-sense realism — the view, roughly, that the ordinary macroscopic objects that we take to exist actually do exist — and constructive empiricism — the view, roughly, that the aim of science is truth about the observable world. But what happens if common-sense realism and science come into conflict? I argue that it is reasonable to think that they could come into conflict, by giving some motivation for a mental monist solution (...) to the measurement problem of quantum mechanics. I then consider whether, in a situation where science favors the mental monist interpretation, van Fraassen would want to give up common-sense realism or would want to give up science. 1. The Potential Tension Bas van Fraassen is a common-sense realist: Constructive empiricism. (shrink)
J. L. A. Garcia holds that my defense of voluntary euthanasia in an earlier paper amounts to an "assault on traditional commonsense" about what medical ethics permits physicians to do, particularly insofar as I hold that a physician's duty to abstain from intentionally killing is only a defeasible duty, not an unconditional one. But I argue here that it is Garcia's views that are more at odds with commonsense, and that voluntary euthanasia is in (...) fact a humane alternative that respects patient autonomy and is consistent with the most fundamental moral duties of physicians. Among these is a duty to relieve suffering, which can sometimes outweigh the fundamental duty to conserve life. (shrink)
As the eleventh volume in the New Directions in Cognitive Science series (formerly the Vancouver Studies in Cognitive Science series), this work promises superb scholarship and interdisciplinary appeal. It addresses three areas of current and varied interest: commonsense, reasoning, and rationality. While commonsense and rationality often have been viewed as two distinct features in a unified cognitive map, this volume offers novel, even paradoxical, views of the relationship. Comprised of outstanding essays from distinguished philosophers, (...) it considers what constitutes human rationality, behavior, and intelligence covering diverse areas of philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and computer science. Indeed, it is at the forefront of cognitive research and promises to be of unprecedented influence across numerous disciplines. (shrink)
This paper concerns the question of how to draw inferences common sensically from uncertain knowledge. Since the early work of Shore and Johnson (1980), Paris and Vencovská (1990), and Csiszár (1989), it has been known that the Maximum Entropy Inference Process is the only inference process which obeys certain commonsense principles of uncertain reasoning. In this paper we consider the present status of this result and argue that within the rather narrow context in which we work (...) this complete and consistent mode of uncertain reasoning is actually characterised by the observance of just a single commonsense principle (or slogan). (shrink)
Abstract This article examines Gramsci?s theory of commonsense and the implications of this theory for understanding social transformation and theorising political activity. Gramsci analyses commonsense as a pervasive, though confused and contradictory, variety of ideology. For Gramsci the point is to challenge and question this pervasive ideology and its incoherence, confusion, passivity, and political conservatism. The task is to involve the construction of a new conception of the world, in opposition to existing belief?systems, and (...) what he terms an ?intellectual and moral reformation?. By transforming modes of thinking and acting, such a transformation is conceived as revolutionising political possibilities, altering the potentialities inherent in a conjuncture. This approach of Gramsci?s dovetails with revolutionary and radical political movements, suggesting a more fundamental challenge to capitalism and a forgotten but very energetic potential project of revolutionary transformation. (shrink)
The paper argues, that a direct formalization of the way commonsense thinks about the numerical identity of enduring entities, requires that traditional predicate logic is developed. If everyday language mirrors the world, then persons, organisms, organs, cells, and ordinary material things can lose some parts but nonetheless remain numerically exactly the same entity. In order to formalize this view, two new logical operators are introduced; and they bring with them some non-standard syntax. One of the operators is (...) called ‘the instantiation operator’; it is needed because the existential quantifier and its traditional relatives cannot do the job required. The other operator is called ‘the form-on-matter operator’, and it allows an individual (an instance of a form) to stay the same even though some of its parts (its constituting matter) is taken away from it. Also, a certain kind of predicates, called ‘nature terms’, is needed in order to represent what gives a particular its kind of identity. Both the operators and the nature terms introduced can be used in constructions of formal languages and formal systems, but no such constructions are made in the paper. The paper is structured as a comment on the philosophical problem called ‘the problem of the cats Tibbles and Tib’. (shrink)
The problem of reconciling the philosophical denial of ontological vagueness with common-sense beliefs positing vague objects, properties and relations is addressed. This project arises for any view denying ontological vagueness but is especially pressing for transvaluationism, which claims that ontological vagueness is impossible. The idea that truth, for vague discourse and vague thought-content, is an indirect form of language-thought correspondence is invoked and applied. It is pointed out that supervaluationism provides one way, but not necessarily the only way, (...) of implementing the idea of indirect correspondence. (shrink)
After a definition of ?commonsense? it is argued that sociology and commonsense both do and ought to interact with one another. Four positions on the sociology?commonsense relation in the light of the interaction thesis are then critically discussed: sociology must break with commonsense; sociology must be based on commonsense; sociology and commonsense are incomparable; and sociology and commonsense are identical. (...) The first two of these positions are further sub?divided in terms of whether the arguments in their favour are or are not independent of one's conceptions of sociology and commonsense. Each of these positions is illustrated by means of a case study of one author. The final section involves a consideration of ethnomethodology on the basis of the above typology: it is argued that ethnomethodology cannot find a site on the sociology?commonsense question which is compatible with its basic commitments. (shrink)
Recent work in the philosophy of science has been debunking theory and acclaiming practice. Recent work in philosophical psychology has been neglecting practice and emphasizing theory, suggesting that common?sense psychology is in all essential respects like any scientific theory. The marriage of these two strands of thought would serve to make science and commonsense virtually indistinguishable. My paper resists this conflation. The main target is the attempt to assimilate everyday psychology to a scientific theory; I (...) argue that this is badly mistaken, and does a disservice both to scientific and to common?sense psychology. A secondary aim is to argue that some of the new pragmatism in the philosophy of science is overstated. The suggested conflation would have interesting implications, as would its denial; in a concluding section, some of these implications are briefly explored. (shrink)
The Scottish CommonSense School of philosophy emerged during the Scottish Enlightenment of the second half of the eighteenth century. The School’s principal proponents were Thomas Reid, James Oswald, James Beattie and Dugald Stewart. They believed that we are all naturally implanted with an array of commonsense intuitions and these intuitions are in fact the foundation of truth. Their approach dominated philosophical thought in Great Britain and the United States until the mid nineteenth century. In (...) recent years philosophers have renewed their appreciation of the notion of commonsense. In particular, discussions of commonsense intuitions are integral to contemporary epistemological foundationalism. Scottish CommonSense Philosophy: Sources and Origins is a 5-volume collection of writings by and about philosophers in the eighteenth-century Scottish CommonSense School. The writings by Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart are readily available in recent editions and facsimile reprints so this series focuses on less accessible and less well-known items. Oswald’s Appeal appears here in print for the first time in any form since 1772. Volume 2 is the first reset printing of Beattie’s Essay in over 100 years, and is the only edition to contain annotations that trace the major changes that he made to the text. Almost all of the responses in volumes 3 and 4 appear here in print for the first time since their original publication. These include reviews, pamphlets and excerpts from books. Also included is previously unpublished discussion of Beattie’s Essay by Dugald Stewart. The final volume is a bibliography of around 80 Scottish philosophers from the early eighteenth century to the close of the nineteenth century. Unlike the 1932 bibliography of Scottish philosophers offered by T. E. Jessop, which selectively presents only the philosophical writings by the various Scottish philosophers, this volume attempts to catalogue all of the writings by these philosophers in all of their editions. (shrink)
We “prepunish” a person if we punish her prior to the commission of her crime. This essay discusses our intuitions about the permissibility of prepunishment and the relationship between prepunishment and compatibilism about free will and determinism. It has recently been argued that compatibilism has particular trouble generating a principled objection to prepunishment. The failure to provide such an objection may be a problem for compatibilism if our moral intuitions strongly favor the prohibition of prepunishment. In defense of compatibilism, I (...) argue that while no objection to prepunishment is entailed by the central tenets of compatibilism, this does not necessarily show that compatibilism conflicts with our moral intuitions. And while there may be no distinctly compatibilist objection to prepunishment, there are common-sense objections to prepunishment of which the compatibilist can make use, at least under actual-world circumstances. And, while these common-sense objections might be inoperative in certain non-actual circumstances, it is not clear that support for prepunishment would be unintuitive in these circumstances. (shrink)
Overmedication is nowadays a serious problem in health care due to influences from the pharmaceutical industry and agencies responsible for regulation. The situation has indeed become appalling in psychiatry, where both theories and treatments have deteriorated under the impact of the industry. The overmedication problem is associated with biased biology in medicine. Adequate biological approaches would indicate that drug therapies must yield to diet therapies, particularly treatments involving omega-3 fatty acids, in many cases. To the extent that philosophy of science (...) adapts to mainstream medicine in analyses of the current situation, it may reinforce the existing bias. To redress imbalances in health care, we ultimately have to rely on commonsense. (shrink)
Popular and philosophical notions of commonsense are briefly reviewed in terms of their possible applications in the theory of management. The concept of commonsense is here interpreted as a secondary device in decision-making, and ought to be considered only in the context of a much more complex information-knowledge process. The knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done. C. E. Stowe.
I provide a reading of Reid as an 'encyclopaedist', in Alasdair MacIntyre's sense, that is, as a scientist who conceives of himself as part of a broader scientific community, and who aims to make a contribution through work in a particular field. Reid's field is pneumatology. On this conception, Reid's recourse to 'commonsense' is of a piece with the postulation, by any scientist, of a natural endowment for members of the same ostensible kind. Reid should therefore (...) be understood as rejecting the classical tradition of epistemology and any conception of epistemology as first philosophy. His view resembles, rather, the modern position of 'natural epistemology', though admittedly, on account of his doctrine of active power, he is not committed to 'naturalism' in the contemporary sense. (shrink)
James Frederick Ferrier developed his philosophy from a commonsense background. However, his rejection of commonsense philosophy in particular and Enlightenment philosophy in general results in the development of a system of idealism. In his series of lectures ‘An Introduction to the Philosophy of Consciousness - Parts I to VII’, which appeared in Blackwoods Magazine (1838–39), he outlines the problem with modern philosophy and argues that philosophy should follow a new direction. In his view, the (...) most peculiar and interesting aspect of humanity is consciousness. He contends that the attempt to develop a ‘science of man’ is impossible because it transforms a person into an object of study and thereby fails to capture the most distinctive aspect of humanity, namely, consciousness. According to Ferrier, philosophy should be an extension of consciousness itself; it is: ‘consciousness sublimed’. This paper will outline the central arguments in ‘An Introduction to the Philosophy of Consciousness’ and show that an early example of British idealism was not only developed out of the commonsense tradition but shares with commonsense philosophy a focus on the immediate evidence of consciousness, placing the relationship between thought and world at the centre of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
In a popular book and a widely anthologized article, Richard Taylor argues for a materialistic account of human nature based on considerations of commonsense. While I do not argue against materialism, per se, I offer an extended critique of Taylor’s position that commonsense unambiguously supports his version of materialism. I also argue that his account of the nature of psychological processes is of dubious philosophical value.
In this article, I discuss how Samuel Stanhope Smith advanced Reidian themes in his moral philosophy and examine their reception by Presbyterian revivalists Ashbel Green, Samuel Miller, and Archibald Alexander. Smith, seventh president and moral philosophy professor of the College of New Jersey (1779–1812), has received marginal scholarly attention regarding his moral philosophy and rational theology, in comparison to his predecessor John Witherspoon. As an early American philosopher who drew on the ideals of the Scottish Enlightenment including Common (...) class='Hi'>Sense philosophy, Smith faced heightened scrutiny from American revivalists regarding the danger his epistemology presented to the institution of religion. The Scottish School of CommonSense was widely praised and applied in nineteenth-century American moral philosophy, but before the more general American acceptance of CommonSense, Smith already appealed to Reidian themes in his methodology and treatment of external sensations, internal sensations, intellectual powers, and active powers of the human mind. In this paper, I argue that Smith's use of Reidian themes for grooming his student's morality conflicted with the educational expectations from revivalists on Princeton's board of trustees who demanded more attention on orthodox theology. I identify Smith's notions of causation, liberty, and the moral faculty as primary reasons for this tension over Princeton's educational purpose during the first decade of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
The paper argues that the relation between the philosophy of commonsense and skepticism ought to be perceived of as the relation between the two horns of a dilemma. Each position, it is therefore said, is able to confront the other with a valid objection, something which implies that neither of the two positions are defensible as such. The dilemma is only resolved, it is argued, by the way in which a pragmatic approach to knowledge enables us to (...) incorporate the insights of both commonsense and skepticism in a single position. (shrink)
Balance and commonsense are commonplace concepts used to bring an audience to a place of shared understanding. These commonplaces also function as decision-making heuristics. I argue in this paper that the commonplaces ?balance? and ?commonsense? are problematic because they suggest decision-making strategies that strip associated information of complexity and value. Through an examination of theory and responses to interviews conducted in relation to an ongoing project on environmental rhetoric, I problematize these concepts and consider (...) how awareness of the interaction of these commonplaces and heuristics can benefit rhetors and agencies seeking environmental change. (shrink)
The so-called CommonSense Morality (C) is any moral theory that allows, or requires, an agent to accept special, non-instrumental reasons to give advantage to certain other persons, usually the agent’s friends or kin, over the interests of others. Opponents charge C with violating the requirement of impartiality defined as independence on positional characteristics of moral agents and moral patients. Advocates of C claim that C is impartial, but only in a positional manner in which every moral agent (...) would acquire the same relational characteristics if that agent was in a certain relationship to the given moral patient. The opponents of C reply that a theory that allows for positional characteristics is self-defeating; it violates the requirement of prescriptivity due to its inability to provide moral recommendations what should happen all things considered. Advocates of C retort that a moral theory should be prescriptive by telling every agent what to do, not what should the joint outcome of those activities be. In this paper I analyze the last two moves of this debate: the objection that C is self-defeating and the reply that there is a plausible moral theory (C) that accommodates positional characteristics of special moral reasons. I argue that the last move wins. In the process I sketch out a theory able to accommodate agent-relative moral reason. (shrink)
In her insightful and stimulating article, The Mind of a Moral Agent, Professor Susanna Blumenthal traces the influence of Scottish CommonSense philosophy on early American law. Among other things, Blumenthal argues that the basic model of moral agency upon which early American jurists relied, which drew heavily from CommonSense philosophers like Thomas Reid, generated certain paradoxical conclusions about legal responsibility that later generations were forced to confront. "Having cast their lot with the Common (...)Sense philosophers in the "formative era" of American law," she explains, "early republican jurists thus bequeathed to future generations of lawyers a problem of responsibility of no small proportions." In this invited comment for Law and History Review, I first argue that the problems of responsibility on which Blumenthal focuses our attention are not specific to Scottish CommonSense, but rather descend straight from the core of the Western legal and moral tradition. The same problems would arise if CommonSense philosophy had never existed. Second, even if it is true that CommonSense exerted a powerful influence on American academic life in the antebellum period, it still must be shown that this influence extended to specific features of American law, which remained at the time almost entirely the product of English common law. Blumenthal has not met this burden, however, because she does not identify any specific doctrines or judicial opinions that might support the conclusion that early American jurists "were steeped in CommonSense philosophy" or sought to construct "an indigenous legal tradition, built on the universalistic premises of CommonSense." Rather, her defense of this interesting claim is highly selective, resting mainly on the writings of Wilson and Hoffman. Third, although Blumenthal claims that there is something puzzling or paradoxical from a CommonSense perspective about the diversity of moral opinion, the existence of irrational or evil actors, or the fact that individuals often disregard the dictates of their moral sense, she does not adequately explain what exactly that paradox is, nor why CommonSense adherents should be troubled by it. Locke had made objections like these familiar as a result of his attack on innate practical principles in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Yet already by the eighteenth century, critics like Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Reid, and their followers had rejected Locke's arguments as based on mere confusion and fallacy. Finally, a key point that Blumenthal neglects, as does John Witt in his elegant chapter on Wilson, is that CommonSense philosophers also supplied positive scientific arguments for innate moral knowledge, based on observation and induction rather than introspection, whose intellectual worth has proved remarkably durable. We risk misunderstanding Scottish CommonSense and its place in the history of ideas if we overlook contributions like these, or remain content to think of it merely as an unduly optimistic philosophy, which relied mainly on introspection to affirm the innate goodness of humankind, but which gave way to a more accurate theory of human nature as the nineteenth century unfolded. Certainly there is some truth to this description, but it is only part of the story, and a potentially misleading one. (shrink)
The President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research published in March of 1983 its Report, Securing Access to Health Care: The Ethical Implications of Differences in the Availability of Health Services . Concluding that there are "ethical obligations" on behalf of society which are balanced by individual obligations, the Report provides an ethical framework for ensuring "ultimate responsibility" of the Federal government to arrange for equitable access to health and to a fair (...) share of cost. In doing so the Report neither makes justice nor beneficence the prime moral principle in public health care, it rather calls for a commonsense approach in "approximating adequacy". But how to define equality without creating uniformity in a society rich in its diversity, including attitudes towards health? Keywords: justice, beneficence, right to health care, equality, distribution CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Once a name to conjure with, Scottish idealist James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864) is now a largely forgotten figure, notwithstanding the fact that he penned a work of remarkable power and originality: the Institutes of Metaphysic (1854). In ‘Reid and the Philosophy and CommonSense,’ an essay of 1847 which anticipates some of the central themes of the Institutes of Metaphysic, Ferrier presents an excoriating critique of Thomas Reid's brand of commonsense realism. Understanding Ferrier's critique of (...) Reid – its content, motivations, and significance – is the task of the present essay. (shrink)
CommonSense and Logic in Jan Smedslund's 'Psycho-logic'. This paper is about the efforts the norwegian psychologist Jan Smedslund made in analyzing and checking philosophically his theory called 'Psycho-logic'. I am going to reconstruct and discuss the debates between Smedslund and several critics, which have been going on since about 1978, mainly in the "Scandinavian Journal of Psychology". A result will be that the kind of modal logics Smedslund uses - a type with realistic semantics and epistemology - (...) is not the proper one for the analysis of 'Psycho-logic'. (shrink)
On making philosophy intelligible.--What is communication?--Meaning and intentionality.--What must there be?--Metaphysics and commonsense.--Philosophy and science.--Chance.--Knowledge, belief, and evidence.--Has Austin refuted the sense-datum theory?--Professor Malcolm on dreams.--An appraisal of Bertrand Russell's philosophy.--G. E. Moore on propositions and facts.--Reflections on existentialism.--Man as a subject for science.--Philosophy and politics.
The so-called CommonSense Morality (C) is any moral theory that allows, or requires, an agent to accept special, non-instrumental reasons to give advantage to certain other persons, usually the agent’s friends or kin, over the interests of others. Opponents charge C with violating the requirement of impartiality defined as independence on positional characteristics of moral agents and moral patients. Advocates of C claim that C is impartial, but only in a positional manner in which every moral agent (...) would acquire the same relational characteristics if that agent was in a certain relationship to the given moral patient. The opponents of C reply that a theory that allows for positional characteristics is self-defeating; it violates the requirement of prescriptivity due to its inability to provide moral recommendations what should happen all things considered. Advocates of C retort that a moral theory should be prescriptive by telling every agent what to do, not what should the joint outcome of those activities be. In this paper I analyze the last two moves of this debate: the objection that C is self-defeating and the reply that there is a plausible moral theory (C) that accommodates positional characteristics of special moral reasons. (shrink)
Es gibt zwei Schlüsselfragen in der Theorie der Erkenntnis: ''Was wissen wir?" und "Wie wissen wir?". Chisholm hat argumentiert, daß uns der Versuch, diese Fragen zu beantworten, in eines der wichtigsten und schwierigsten philosophischen Probleme führt: in das Problem des Kriteriums. In dieser Arbeit wird in erster Linie die dem CommonSense verpflichtete Position des "Partikularismus" betrachtet, die von Chisholm als Lösung des Problems des Kriteriums vorgeschlagen wurde. Dabei wird der Frage nachgegangen, worin genau die partikularistische Lösung besteht, (...) wie sich der Partikularismus gegen skeptische Angriffe verteidigen kann, und worin er sich von seinem Konkurrenten, dem ''Methodismus" unterscheidet. (shrink)
Philosophers often invoke some sort of consensus in order to justify their analyses on knowledge. Such an appeal could be interpreted as a plea for commonsense. Yet there are many senses of commonsense. In this paper, I would like to explore G.E. Moore and L. Wittgenstein's appeal to such a folk consensus. I will argue that while the former attaches commonsense with the everyday beliefs of plain men, the latter invokes the (...) universal norms underlying human practice and therefore invites an ideal commonsense that can better serve as an epistemic criterion. (shrink)
Includes the complete texts of CommonSense; Rights of Man, Part the Second; The Age of Reason (part one); Four Letters on Interesting Subjects , published anonymously and just discovered to be Paine’s work; and Letter to the Abbé Raynal, Paine’s first examination of world events; as well as selections from The American Crises In 1776, America was a hotbed of enlightenment and revolution. Thomas Paine not only spurred his fellow Americans to action but soon came to symbolize (...) the spirit of the Revolution. His elegantly persuasive pieces spoke to the hearts and minds of those fighting for freedom. He was later outlawed in Britain, jailed in France, and finally labeled an atheist upon his return to America. (shrink)
Ich meine, daß ein erkenntnistheoretischer Skeptizismus nur am Platz ist, wenn ein Ideal der Erreichung der Wahrheit an sich unabhängig von praktischen Zielsetzungen verfolgt und ein universelles Begründungsgebot für hypothetische Aussagen aufgestellt wird. Sieht der Skeptiker gemäß dem Commonsense von diesen willkürlichen Forderungen ab, so vermag er gegenüber einem Common-sense-Standpunkt nicht zu zeigen, 1) daß wegen des sogenannten Begründungsregresses eine Begründung von Aussagen unmöglich ist, 2) daß wegen des sogenannten Induktionszirkels eine empirische Begründung von Aussagen (...) unmöglich ist, 3) daß wegen der Möglichkeit konventionalistischer Verfahrensweisen eine Begründung von Aussagen unmöglich ist. Es vermag dies nicht zu zeigen, sofern die Begründungsfrage im Sinne des Commonsense sinnvoll ist, d.h. letztlich als praktische Frage gestellt wird. Daher vermag der Skeptiker auch nicht zu zeigen, daß es kein Wissen geben kann, daß alle Glaubenshaltungen gleichwertig sind und ein vermeintliches Wissen einem vermeintlichen Nicht-Wissen berechtigtermassen nicht vorgezogen werden kann. (shrink)
The modern critical tradition’s strategy for defeating the demon of self doubt and securing certainty, as Hannah Arendt has written, restricts serious candidates for belief to those whose conditions of truth can be rendered wholly immanent to focal consciousness within a point of view that is simply taken for granted. Thereby it forecloses the possibility of recognizing the partiality of its own perspective vis-a-vis that of others, taking into account the relevant perspectives of other persons, and reaching any kind of (...)sense in common between perspectives. The institutionalization of this strategy in 20th century academic life is amply and insightfully documented in Bruce Wilshire’s Moral Collapse of the University. Michael Polanyi, in his writings, adumbrates a post-critical intellectual ethos in whichthe making of sense in common between persons of differing perspective is central to the enterprise of teaching, learning, and research. Key elements of such an intellectual ethos are articulated and explored. (shrink)
Foreword -- Theory postmortem : Derrida -- Political sense and sensibility : Gramsci to Bourdieu -- Genealogies of commonsense : Marx and Nietzsche -- Folklores of the future : Wilde and Llawrence -- The transcendental ordinary : Wittgenstein to Badiou -- Epilogue: Not a manifesto.
Ordinary moral thinking about morality and rationality is inconsistent. To arrive at a view of morality that is as faithful to common thought as consistency will allow we must admit that it is not always irrational to knowingly act against the weight of reasons.