The cognitive neurosciences are based on the idea that the level of neurons or neural networks constitutes a privileged level of analysis for the explanation of mental phenomena. This paper brings to mind several arguments to the effect that this presumption is ill-conceived and unwarranted in light of what is currently understood about the physical principles underlying mental achievements. It then scrutinizes the question why such conceptions are nevertheless currently prevailing in many areas of psychology. The paper argues that (...) corresponding conceptions are rooted in four different aspects of our common-sense conception of mental phenomena and their explanation, which are illegitimately transferred to scientific enquiry. These four aspects pertain to the notion of explanation, to conceptions about which mental phenomena are singled out for enquiry, to an inductivist epistemology, and, in the wake of behavioristic conceptions, to a bias favoring investigations of input–output relations at the expense of enquiries into internal principles. To the extent that the cognitive neurosciences methodologically adhere to these tacit assumptions, they are prone to turn into a largely a-theoretical and data-driven endeavor while at the same time enhancing the prospects for receiving widespread public appreciation of their empirical findings. (shrink)
Drawing on Deleuze's early works of the 1960s, this article investigates the ways in which Deleuze challenges our traditional linguistic notion of sense and notion of truth. Using Frege's account of sense and truth, this article presents our common understanding of sense and truth as two separate dimensions of the proposition where sense subsists only in a formal relation to the other. It then goes on to examine the Kantian account, which makes sense the superior transcendental condition of (...) possibility of truth. Although both accounts define sense as merely the form of possibility of truth, a huge divide cuts across a simple formal logic of sense and a transcendental logic: transcendental logic discovered a certain genetic productivity of sense, such that a proposition always has the kind of truth that it merits according to its sense. In pursuit of this genetic productivity of sense, Deleuze applies different models of explanation: a Nietzschean genealogical model of the genetic power of sense, and in The Logic of Sense a structural model combined with elements of Stoic philosophy. This article follows Deleuze in setting up a new and very complex notion of sense, which he radically distinguishes from what he terms ‘signification’, that is, an extrinsic, linguistic or logical, condition of possibility. Rather, sense has to be conceived as both the effect and the intrinsic genetic element of an extra-propositional sense-producing machine. (shrink)
This essay attempts to retrieve the notion of ‘common sense’ within the writings of Descartes and Montaigne. I suggest that both writers represent distinct traditions in which the notion is employed. Descartes represents a modernist tradition in which common sense is understood to be a cognitive faculty, while Montaigne represents a humanist tradition in which common sense is understood as a political virtue. I also suggest that both writers work with the notion as a way of responding (...) to diversity in the world. The paper concludes with a discussion of how the notion of common sense employed by Descartes and Montaigne emerges out of the scholastic tradition and the assertion that both writers are responding to the educational consequences of scholasticism. I also discuss how the reconstruction of Descartes in this paper can provide some ground for raising new questions about the Cartesian project and educational philosophy. Finally, I gesture toward the idea that the humanist tradition with its understanding of common sense as political virtue can provide benefit for contemporary responses to diversity. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to analyze the main contributions of Wesley C. Salmon to the philosophy of science, that is, his concepts of causation, common cause, and theoretical explanation, and to provide a critique of them. This critique will be based on a comparison of Salmon's concepts with categories developed by Hegel in his Science of Logic, and which can be applied to the issues treated by Salmon by means of the above given three concepts. It is (...) the author's contention that by means of Hegelian categories it becomes possible to provide a critique of Salmon's philosophy of science and at the same time to enlarge the concept framework of philosophy of science. (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 common sense,” 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)
The new situation in Europe, as exemplified in Germany, calls for a common consciousness, one traditionally characterized as sensus communis or common sense. Kant organized his ruminations on common sense — specifically, the logical common sense — around three maxims: enlightenment, the extended way of thinking and the consistent way of thinking. These are here described with an eye to their consequences for the issues of identity, community and pedagogy.
This article proposes to take seriously Lord Hoffmann's influential restatement of the rules of contractual interpretation. Consequently, it seeks to investigate the ‘common sense principles by which any serious utterance would be interpreted in ordinary life’, with the aid of theoretical insights from psycholinguistics, pragmatics and the philosophy of language. Such an investigation provides a principled explanation for some of the key features of our legal rules of interpretation, such as the objective principle and the importance of the factual (...) matrix and the parties' reasonable expectations. It is shown that the intended meaning of a contractual document goes far beyond the ordinary linguistic meaning of the document, and even far beyond the information that crossed the drafter's mind. The common sense principles are then used to explain some key cases on the interpretation of contracts. (shrink)
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 'common sense'. 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)
Patients and physicians can inhabit distinctive social worlds where they are guided by diverse understandings of moral practice. Despite the contemporary presence of multiple moral traditions, religious communities and ethnic backgrounds, two of the major methodological approaches in bioethics, casuistry and principlism, rely upon the notion of a common morality. However, the heterogeneity of ethnic, moral, and religious traditions raises questions concerning the singularity of common sense. Indeed, it might be more appropriate to consider plural traditions of moral reasoning. (...) This poses a considerable challenge for bioethicists because the existence of plural moral traditions can lead to difficulties regarding "closure" in moral reasoning. The topics of truth-telling, informed consent, euthanasia, and brain death and organ transplantation reveal the presence of different understandings of common sense. With regard to these subjects, plural accounts of "common sense" moral reasoning exist. (shrink)
I compare Frith and colleagues’ influential comparator account of how the sense of agency is elicited to the multifactorial weighting model advocated by Synofzik and colleagues. I defend the comparator model from the common objection that the actual sensory consequences of action are not needed to elicit the sense of agency. I examine the comparator model’s ability to explain the performance of healthy subjects and those suffering from delusions of alien control on various self-attribution tasks. It transpires that the comparator (...) model needs case-by-case adjustment to deal with problematic data. In response to this, the multifactorial weighting model of Synofzik and colleagues is introduced. Although this model is incomplete, it is more naturally constrained by the cases that are problematic for the comparator model. However, this model may be untestable. I conclude that currently the comparator model approach has stronger support than the multifactorial weighting model approach. (shrink)
The contributors to this volume examine current controversies about the importance of common sense psychology for our understanding of the human mind. Common sense 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 common sense psychology (...) from critical to supportive, from exegetical to speculative, are represented. Among the questions posed are: Is common sense 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)
Popular and philosophical notions of common sense are briefly reviewed in terms of their possible applications in the theory of management. The concept of common sense 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 defend, in this paper, a version of a philosophy of common sense. 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 common sense. At least two different notions of common sense emerge, one of which has often been overlooked by philosophers.
It is a well known fact that a common common causal explanation of the EPR scenario which consists in providing a local, non-conspiratorial common common cause system for a set of EPR correlations is excluded by various Bell inequalities. But what if we replace the assumption of a common common cause system by the requirement that each correlation of the set has a local, non-conspiratorial separate common cause system? In the paper we show that this move does not yield (...) a solution by providing a general recipe how to derive any Bell(δ) inequality—that is an inequality differing from some Bell inequality in a term of order of δ—from the assumption that an appropriate set of almost perfect anticorrelations has a separate common causal explanation. (shrink)
Abstract This article examines Gramsci?s theory of common sense and the implications of this theory for understanding social transformation and theorising political activity. Gramsci analyses common sense 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 the relation between the philosophy of common sense 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 common sense and skepticism in a single position. (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 Common Sense,’ 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 common sense realism. Understanding Ferrier's critique of Reid – its content, (...) motivations, and significance – is the task of the present essay. (shrink)
Summary Dugald Stewart was the first metaphysician of any significance in Britain who attempted to take account of Kantian philosophy, although his analysis appears generally dismissive. Traditionally this has been imputed to Stewart's poor understanding of Kant and to his efforts to defend the orthodoxy of common sense. This paper argues that, notwithstanding Stewart's reading, Kant's philosophy helped him in a reconsideration and reassessment of common sense philosophy. In his mature works?the Philosophical Essays (1810), the second volume of the Elements (...) of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (1814), and the second part of his historical ?Dissertation? (1815?1821)?Stewart's analysis of Kantian philosophy is far from being uniform. In the first two works, he takes a cautious approach to transcendentalism, showing some interest in the challenge it might represent for common sense; in the last, he turns to rash criticism. This change may appear confusing and inconsistent unless considered in the light of a precise ?nationalistic? strategy. In fact, once Stewart had taken from Kantian philosophy what he deemed useful for his own aims, he eventually dismissed it in order to show that his reworked version of common sense was the most original and most consistent outcome of the whole Anglo-Scottish philosophical tradition. (shrink)
It is shown that, given any finite set of pairs of random events in a Boolean algebra which are correlated with respect to a fixed probability measure on the algebra, the algebra can be extended in such a way that the extension contains events that can be regarded as common causes of the correlations in the sense of Reichenbach's definition of common cause. It is shown, further, that, given any quantum probability space and any set of commuting events in it (...) which are correlated with respect to a fixed quantum state, the quantum probability space can be extended in such a way that the extension contains common causes of all the selected correlations, where common cause is again taken in the sense of Reichenbachs definition. It is argued that these results very strongly restrict the possible ways of disproving Reichenbach's Common Cause Principle. (shrink)
It is shown that, given any finite set of pairs of random events in a Boolean algebra which are correlated with respect to a fixed probability measure on the algebra, the algebra can be extended in such a way that the extension contains events that can be regarded as common causes of the correlations in the sense of Reichenbach's definition of common cause. It is shown, further, that, given any quantum probability space and any set of commuting events in it (...) which are correlated with respect to a fixed quantum state, the quantum probability space can be extended in such a way that the extension contains common causes of all the selected correlations, where common cause is again taken in the sense of Reichenbach's definition. It is argued that these results very strongly restrict the possible ways of disproving Reichenbach's Common Cause Principle. (shrink)
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 'common sense' 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)
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)
Thomas Reid is often misread as defending common sense, if at all, only by relying on illicit premises about God or our natural faculties. On these theological or reliabilist misreadings, Reid makes common sense assertions where he cannot give arguments. This paper attempts to untangle Reid's defense of common sense 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 common sense 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 common sense does not require indefensible premises. (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)
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 common sense. (shrink)
Review of Avital Wohlman, Al-Ghazali, Averroës and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: Common Sense 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.
The Claims of Common Sense investigates the importance of ideas developed by Cambridge philosophers between the World Wars for the social sciences concerning common sense, 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)
Balance and common sense 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 ?common sense? 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)
This paper examines the English case, Regina v Adams in which the difference between "scientific reason" and "common sense" was explicitly at stake in the use of DNA evidence. In its decision the Appellate Court reinstated a boundary between "scientific" and "common sense" evidence, arguing that this boundary was necessary to preserve the jury's role as trier of fact. The paper's discussion of the court's work of demarcation addresses the unresolved problems with the place of probability estimates in jury trials.
This book is a defence of the philosophy of common sense broadly in the spirit of Thomas Reid and G.E. Moore. It breaks new ground by drawing on the work of Aristotle, contemporary evolutionary biology and psychology, and historical studies on the origins of early modern philosophy. Part One offers new answers to the questions: What counts as a common sense belief? Why should common sense beliefs be considered default positions?, and Why is it that philosophers so frequently end up (...) denying what we all know to be true? Part Two defends common sense beliefs from specific challenges from prominent philosophers on topics from metaphysics to ethics. (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)
The main purpose of the paper is to investigate the relevance and significance of the concept of common good in contemporary society. First, I make a brief historical remark about the philosophical concept of common good. I will argue that the concept is rooted in the ancient Greek philosophical understanding of society, namely as polis, whereby human being is thought to have an end that is not merely individual but also collective. I then discuss how societies have significantly changed over (...) the years and how the current global order resembles the situation during the time of Alexander the Great, whose vision it was to establish a cosmopolis, literally a global city. In the end, I consider whether the notion of common good in itself has lost its relevance in the face of the manifold social changes. I bring my discussion to a close with a note on the universality and naturality of the common good of humankind. (shrink)
Scientists and laypeople alike use the sense of understanding that an explanation conveys as a cue to good or correct explanation. Although the occurrence of this sense or feeling of understanding is neither necessary nor sufficient for good explanation, it does drive judgments of the plausibility and, ultimately, the acceptability, of an explanation. This paper presents evidence that the sense of understanding is in part the routine consequence of two well-documented biases in cognitive psychology: overconfidence and (...) hindsight. In light of the prevalence of counterfeit understanding in the history of science, I argue that many forms of cognitive achievement do not involve a sense of understanding, and that only the truth or accuracy of an explanation make the sense of understanding a valid cue to genuine understanding. (shrink)