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)
The essay is a written version of a talk Nakamura Yūjirō gave at the Collège international de philosophie in Paris in 1983. In the talk Nakamura connects the issue of common sense in his own work to that of place in Nishida Kitarō and the creative imagination in Miki Kiyoshi. He presents this connection between the notions of common sense, imagination, and place as constituting one important thread in contemporary Japanese philosophy. He begins by discussing the significance of place (basho) (...) that is being rediscovered today in response to the shortcomings of the modern Western paradigm, and discusses it in its various senses, such as ontological ground or substratum, the body, symbolic space, and linguistic or discursive topos in ancient rhetoric. He then relates this issue to the philosophy of place Nishida developed in the late 1920s, and after providing an explication of Nishida’s theory, discusses it further in light of some linguistic and psychological theories. Nakamura goes on to discuss his own interest in the notion of common sense traceable to Aristotle and its connection to the rhetorical concept of topos, and Miki’s development of the notion of the imagination in the 1930s in response to Nishida’s theory. And in doing so he ties all three—common sense, place, and imagination—together as suggestive of an alternative to the modern Cartesian standpoint of the rational subject that has constituted the traditional paradigm of the modern West. (shrink)
Recent work in the methodology of connectionist explanation has I'ocrrsccl on the notion of levels of explanation. Specific issucs in conncctionisrn hcrc intersect with rvider areas of debate in the philosophy of psychology and thc philosophy of science generally. The issues I raise in this chapter, then, are not unique to cognitive science; but they arise in new and important contexts when connectionism is taken seriously as a model of cognition. The general questions are the relation between (...) levels and the status of levels which have no obvious relation to others. In speaking of levels, what is the connection, if there is one, between explanation and ontology? Which, if any, conccpt of reduction is applicable to connectionist systems? What kind of legitinrtcy can the constructs of common sense psychology, or of that vclsion ol intentional realism represented by classical symbol-systems n I, hirvc irr ir full-scale connectionist theory of mind? (shrink)
Debunking arguments typically attempt to show that a set of beliefs or other intensional mental states bear no appropriate explanatory connection to the facts they purport to be about. That is, a debunking argument will attempt to show that beliefs about p are not held because of the facts about p. Such beliefs, if true, would then only be accidentally so. Thus, their causal origins constitute an undermining defeater. Debunking arguments arise in various philosophical domains, targeting beliefs about morality, the (...) existence of God, logic, and others. They have also arisen in material-object metaphysics, often aimed at debunking common-sense ontology. And while most of these arguments feature appeals to ‘biological and cultural contingencies’ that are ostensibly responsible for our beliefs about which kinds of objects exist, few of them take a serious look at what those contingencies might actually be. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to remedy this by providing empirical substantiation for a key premise in these debunking arguments by examining data from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and developmental psychology that support a ‘debunking explanation’ of our common-sense beliefs and intuitions about which objects exist. Second, to argue that such data also undermines a particular kind of rationalist defense of common-sense ontology, sometimes employed as a response to the debunking threat. (shrink)
On the Principles of Common Sense Thomas Reid. SECT. IX. Tltat there is a principle in human nature, from which the notion of this, as well as all other natural virtues or causes, is derived. In order to illustrate further how we come to conceive ...
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)
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)
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)
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)
This dissertation attempts to expose the influence of Francis Bacon on the philosophy of Thomas Reid. Reid was a self-professed Baconian who viewed the human mind as a subject which was amenable to scientific investigation. Reid attempts to develop his own theory of mind according to the method of induction and experiment and general philosophy of science of Bacon. Further, Reid's use of the Baconian idols in his attack on the theory of ideas is explored. In addition, it is argued (...) that this Baconian approach helps to illuminate Reid's direct realism in perception as well as Reid's indebtedness to Bacon in his treatment of sensations as a system of signs. Finally, Reid develops a theory of evidence and common sense which owes much to the legal discussion of the time. This again links Reid to Bacon who made a similar use of legal metaphors in defending his philosophy of science against scholastic apologists. By appealing to textual evidence in the works of both philosophers' writings and reconstructing Reid's positions in light of this influence, it is hoped that a better understanding of Reid's notion of common sense is ultimately reached as well as a solution to the problem of intentionality in Reid's theory of perception. (shrink)
The paper suggests a distinction between two dimensions of grasp of concepts within an inferentialist approach to conceptual content: a common sense "minimum" version, where a simple speaker needs just a few inferences to grasp a concept C, and an expert version, where the specialist is able to master a wide range of inferential transitions involving C. This paper tries to defend this distinction and to explore some of its basic implications.
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)
The emphasis on God in American psychology of religion generates the problem of explaining divine-versus-natural causality in “spiritual experiences.” Especially “theistic psychology” champions divine involvement. However, its argument exposes a methodological error: to pit popular religious opinions against technical scientific conclusions. Countering such homogenizing “postmodern agnosticism,” Bernard Lonergan explained these two as different modes of thinking: “common sense” and “theory”—which resolves the problem: When theoretical science is matched with theoretical theology, “the God-hypothesis” explains the existence of things whereas science explains (...) their natures; and, barring miracles, God is irrelevant to natural science. A review of the field shows that the problem is pervasive; attention to “miracles”—popularly so-named versus technically—focuses the claims of divine-versus-natural causality; and specifications of the meaning of spiritual, spirituality, science, worldview, and meaning itself offer further clarity. The problem is not naturalism versus theism, but commonsensical versus theoretical thinking. This solution demands “hard” social science. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s concepts shed light on the phenomenon of schizophrenia in at least three different ways: with a view to empathy, scientific explanation, or philosophical clarification. I consider two different “positive” wittgensteinian accounts―Campbell’s idea that delusions involve a mechanism of which different framework propositions are parts, Sass’ proposal that the schizophrenic patient can be described as a solipsist, and a Rhodes’ and Gipp’s account, where epistemic aspects of schizophrenia are explained as failures in the ordinary background of certainties. I argue (...) that none of them amounts to empathic-phenomenological understanding, but they provide examples of how philosophical concepts can contribute to scientific explanation, and to philosophical clarification respectively. (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)
I offer an analysis of Reid's notion of the will. Naturalism in the philosophy of action is defined as the attempt to eliminate the capacity of will and to reduce volition to some class of appetite or desire. Reid's arguments show, however, that volition plays a particular role in deliberation which cannot be reduced to some form of motivation present at the time of action. Deliberation is understood as an action over which the agent has control. Will is a (...) higher-order mental capacity enabling us to control our own attitudes, decisions and actions. Reid investigates several distinct forms of this control. I conclude with some remarks about the relation between Reid's arguments about the function of the will and his moral rationalism. (shrink)
This paper approaches the question of the relations between laypeople and experts by examining the relations between common sense and philosophy. The analysis of the philosophical discussions of the concept of common sense reveals how it provides democratic politics with an egalitarian foundation, but also indicates how problematic this foundation can be. The egalitarian foundation is revealed by analyzing arguments for the validity of common sense in the writings of Thomas Reid. However, a look at three modern philosophers committed to (...) the link between philosophy and common sense – Descartes, Berkeley and, again, Reid – shows that each assigns very different contents to the concept. This raises the suspicion that modern common sense is not only an egalitarian element, but also a rhetorical tool with which intellectuals attempt to shape the views of the lay masses. The last part suggests that the way out of the predicament is rejecting the supposition that common sense is a unified, homogeneous whole. An alternative is sketched through Antonio Gramsci’s concept of common sense. (shrink)
In Psychoanalysis, its image and its public Moscovici introduced the theory of social representations and took further the project of rehabilitating common sense. In this paper I examine this project through a consideration of the problem of cognitive polyphasia, and the continuity and discontinuity between different systems of knowing. Focusing on the relations between science and common sense. I ask why, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, the scientific imagination tends to deny its relation to common sense and believe that (...) can displace it. I argue that the psychosocial dynamic between common sense and science is revealing of how heavily they are entangled in, and indeed indebted to each other. Even more, this dynamic allows for a full appreciation of what the theory of social representations calls states of cognitive polyphasia. Different systems of thinking and knowing do not displace each other but live side by side, co-existing in a variety of ways, fulfilling different functions and answering different needs in social life. (shrink)
A review of: Manfred Kuehn. Scottish Common Sense in Germany, 1768-1800: A Contribution to the History of Critical Philosophy. (McGill-Queen's Studies in the History of Ideas.) xiv + 300 pp., app., bibl., index. Kingston, Ont./Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1987. $35.
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. (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)
This collection of 17 articles offers an overview of the philosophical activities of a group of philosophers working at the Groningen University. The meta-methodological assumption which unifies the research of this group, holds that there is a way to do philosophy which is a middle course between abstract normative philosophy of science and descriptive social studies of science. On the one hand it is argued with social studies of science that philosophy should take notice of what scientists actually do. On (...) the other hand, however, it is claimed that philosophy can and should aim to reveal cognitive patterns in the processes and products of scientific and common sense knowledge. Since it is thought that those patterns can function as guidelines in new research and/or in research in other disciplines, philosophy can nevertheless hold on to the normative aim which is characteristic of 'classical' philosophy of science. Compared to this common assumption, there is a diversity of subjects. Some papers deal with general problems of science, knowledge, cognition and argumentation, others with topics relating to foundational problems of particular sciences. Therefore this volume is of interest to philosophers of science, to philosophers of knowledge and argumentation in general, to philosophers of mind, as well as for scientists working in the physical and applied sciences, biology, psychology and economy who are interested in the foundations of their disciplines.After a foreword by Leszek Nowak and a general introduction by the editors, the book is divided into four parts, with special introductions. I: CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS IN SERVICE OF VARIOUS RESEARCH PROGRAMMES II: THE LOGIC OF THE EVALUATION OF ARGUMENTS, HYPOTHESES, DEFAULT RULES, AND INTERESTING THEOREMS III: THREE CHALLENGES TO THE TRUTH APPROXIMATION PROGRAMME IV: EXPLICATING PSYCHOLOGICAL INTUITIONS .The Groningen research group was recently qualified, by an official international assessment committee, as one of the best philosophy research groups in the Netherlands. (shrink)
: According to Tim Crane, his version of psychologism is not based on the familiar opposition between conceptual analysis and empirical science. His point is not simply to consider phenomenological and empirical data in the science of the mind. Challenging the idea that investigation of the mind has to be understood “as an autonomous investigation solely into the concepts embodied in our psychological discourse”, Crane tries to argue for a more realistic picture of the mental. His rejection of “autonomous investigation”, (...) however, is based in the end on its impermeability to empirical evidence and on the consequent reduction of philosophy of mind to conceptual analysis of ordinary intentional vocabulary. This seems clear as far as conceptual analysis goes, but perhaps has some undesired consequences in terms of common sense vocabulary. In fact, with respect to folk psychological discourse about the mind, all that Crane is saying is that — besides conceptual analysis — we have to take into consideration empirical evidence in order to reconsider common sense discourse on the mind. This is not so different from the familiar contrast between conceptual analysis and empirical science. Keywords : Psychologism; -psycholosigm; Conceptual Analysis; Common Sense Knowledge; Folk-psychology La psicologizzazzione dello psicologico e il ritorno al senso comune Riassunto : Secondo Tim Crane, la sua idea di psicologismo non poggia sulla nota opposizione tra analisi concettuale e scienza empirica. Non si tratta semplicemente di tenere in considerazione i dati empirici e fenomenici all’interno della scienza della mente. Diversamente da quanti ritengono che l’indagine sulla mente debba essere intesa “come un’indagine autonoma che verte solo sui concetti incorporati nel nostro discorso psicologico”, Crane vorrebbe sostenere un’immagine più realistica del mentale. Il rifiuto del metodo della “indagine autonoma”, poggia in definitiva sull’impermeabilità all’evidenza empirica e sulla conseguente riduzione della filosofia della mente ad analisi concettuale del lessico intenzionale ordinario. Quanto pare chiaro circa l’analisi concettuale, ha forse tuttavia qualche conseguenza indesiderata sul lessico del senso comune. In effetti, se prendiamo in considerazione il discorso della psicologia del senso comune sulla mente, quanto Crane afferma è che – oltre l’analisi concettuale – dovremmo tener conto anche dell’evidenza empirica. Questo, tuttavia, non sembra tanto lontano dalla solita contrapposizione tra analisi concettuale e scienza empirica. Parole chiave : Psicologismo; -psicologismo; Analisi concettuale; Conoscenza di senso comune; Psicologia del senso comune. (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)
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)
Thomas Reid , the Scottish natural and moral philosopher, was one of the founding members of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society and a significant figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Reid believed that common sense should form the foundation of all philosophical inquiry. He criticised the sceptical philosophy propagated by his fellow Scot David Hume and the Anglo-Irish bishop George Berkeley, who asserted that the external world did not exist outside the human mind. Reid was also critical of the theory of ideas (...) propagated by Locke and Descartes, arguing that it was incompatible with physical and experiential facts. For Reid, our senses demonstrate that the external world must exist, and this work is organised in chapters examining each of the senses in turn. The book, based on his lectures, was first published in 1764 when Reid was a regent professor at King's College, Aberdeen, and was reissued in 1818. (shrink)
Bellʼs 1964 theorem causes a severe problem for the notion that correlations require explanation, encapsulated in Reichenbachʼs principle of common cause. Despite being a hallmark of scientific thought, dropping the principle has been widely regarded as much less bitter medicine than the perceived alternative—dropping relativistic causality. Recently, however, some authors have proposed that modified forms of Reichenbachʼs principle could be maintained even with relativistic causality. Here we break down Reichenbachʼs principle into two independent assumptions—the principle of common cause (...) proper and factorization of probabilities. We show how Bellʼs theorem can be derived from these two assumptions plus relativistic causality and the law of total probability for actual events, and we review proposals to drop each of these assumptions in light of the theorem. In particular, we show that the non-commutative common causes of Hofer-Szabó and Vecsernyés fail to have an analogue of the notion that the common causes can explain the observed correlations. Moreover, we show that their definition can be satisfied trivially by any quantum product state for any quantum correlations. We also discuss how the conditional states approach of Leifer and Spekkens fares in this regard. (shrink)
In this paper, I will focus on the phenomenological notion of sense which Husserl calls in Ideen I noematic sense. My reading of Ideen I is based on the interpretation of noema as “object as it is intended”. This notion is developed from “filling sense” in LU. Similar to the Russellian “knowledge by acquaintance”, Husserl means by this notion the direct intuitive acquaintance with an intentional object. However, unlike Russell, Husserl doesn’t restrict this notion to sense (...) data, but extend it to the acquaintance with the perspective way of appearance of an intentional object (Erscheinungsweise, Abschattungen). This is because, unlike Frege, Husserl includes not only intension (Materie), but also illocutionary force (Aktqualität) into his notion of sense (LU, 6. Untersuchung, p. 617). This performative notion of sense requires him to take account of the acquaintance with the background of speech acts as a constitutive part of the broadest notion of sense (Ideen I, p. 233f., 322). If a conjecture e.g. about the back side of a cube: “the back side must be a square”, changes through a perception into a claim about it: “this side is indeed a square”, the change of the illocutionary forces, that is, the “filling sense” of the perception is expressed not by intentional materials (side, square etc.), but by indexicals, modal verbs or tenses, which are understood in a direct acquaintance with the perspective appearance of the cube. Thus, “the changing noematic way of appearance of the whole object as sense” (Husserliana vol. XI, p. 333) is the background or horizon, in implicit acquaintance with which illocutionary forces (Aktqualität in LU, noetischer Charakter in Ideen I) of propositional attitudes towards perceptual objects can be understood. (shrink)
Thomas Reid, the Scottish natural and moral philosopher, was one of the founding members of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society and a significant figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Reid believed that common sense should form the foundation of all philosophical inquiry. He criticised the sceptical philosophy propagated by his fellow Scot David Hume and the Anglo-Irish bishop George Berkeley, who asserted that the external world did not exist outside the human mind. Reid was also critical of the theory of ideas propagated (...) by Locke and Descartes, arguing that it was incompatible with physical and experiential facts. For Reid, our senses demonstrate that the external world must exist, and this work is organised in chapters examining each of the senses in turn. The book, based on his lectures, was first published in 1764 when Reid was a regent professor at King's College, Aberdeen, and was reissued in 1818. (shrink)
This paper describes an alternative to the common view that explanation in the special sciences involves subsumption under laws. According to this alternative, whether or not a generalization can be used to explain has to do with whether it is invariant rather than with whether it is lawful. A generalization is invariant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it would continue to hold under a relevant if it is stable or robust in the sense that (...) it would continue to hold under a relevant class of changes. Unlike lawfulness, invariance comes in degrees and has other features that are well suited to capture the characteristics of explanatory generalizations in the special sciences. For example, a generalization can be invariant even if it has exceptions or holds only over a limited spatio-temporal interval. The notion of invariance can be used to resolve a number of dilemmas that arise in standard treatments of explanatory generalizations in the special sciences. (shrink)
Chris Tweedt has offered a solution to the “common sense problem of evil,” on which that there is gratuitous evil is justified non-inferentially as a trivial inference from non-inferentially justified premises by invoking versions of CORNEA. Tweedt claims his solution applies not only to the versions of the common sense problem of evil offered by Paul Draper and Trent Dougherty, but also to that offered by me in this journal in 1992. Here I argue that Tweedt fails to defeat this (...) version of the problem. So even if Tweedt’s response to Draper and Dougherty is successful, a version of the common sense problem of evil survives. (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)
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 , the second volume of the Elements of (...) the Philosophy of the Human Mind , and the second part of his historical ‘Dissertation› —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)
At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a concerted effort was made in the discipline of fluid mechanics to make hidden and fleeting processes visible and to capture the results photographically. I examine two important cases. One concerns the photographs taken by H. S. Hele-Shaw in the 1890s showing the flow of a “perfect”, frictionless fluid. The other case deals with the photographs of boundary layer separation taken by Ludwig Prandtl. These were presented to the Third International Congress (...) of Mathematicians in Heidelberg in 1904. My concern in both cases will be with the relation of the photographs to the reality actually or putatively portrayed in the photograph. Superficially the two cases are very different. “Perfect” fluids were accepted as mere mathematical abstractions to which nothing real could correspond while the reality of the boundary layer has been accepted as a discovery of enormous physical and technical importance. A detailed examination, however, suggests some inner connections of a kind that challenges the understanding of certain “common sense” distinctions between the two cases.Keywords: Sichtbarmachung; Fluid mechanics; Perfect fluids; Boundary layer; Social construction; Prandtl; Hele-Shaw. (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)
In a popular book and a widely anthologized article, Richard Taylor argues for a materialistic account of human nature based on considerations of common sense. While I do not argue against materialism, per se, I offer an extended critique of Taylor’s position that common sense unambiguously supports his version of materialism. I also argue that his account of the nature of psychological processes is of dubious philosophical value.
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)
Richard Fincham - Refuting Fichte with "Common Sense": Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer's Reception of the Wissenschaftslehre 1794/5 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 43:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 43.3 301-324 Refuting Fichte with "Common Sense": Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer's Reception of the Wissenschaftslehre 1794/5 Richard Fincham Even a cursory comparison of Fichte's first published version of the Wissenschaftslehre of 1794/5 with Kant's critical works reveals a striking methodological difference. For, whereas Kant begins with the conditioned and ascends to the (...) subjective foundations of its conditioning, Fichte immediately begins—in Hegel's words, "like a shot from a pistol" —from an unconditioned subjective foundation. It may thus be said that Kant's method is "analytic," whereas Fichte's is "synthetic." For, in the Wolffian terminology of the time, the analytic method names a movement "from . . . consequences to their grounds," whereas the synthetic method names a movement "from grounds to their consequences." Kant himself employs these terms to describe the same distinction. However, he clearly believes that the analytic method is the correct procedure of all philosophy, whereas the synthetic method describes the correct procedure of mathematics. Therefore, it appears that Fichte's method is not only different from Kant's, but is also one that Kant would not sanction. It therefore seems fruitful to consider both why.. (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.
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)