Common Sense


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

Common Sense

 

the attitudes of people toward themselves and surrounding reality, formed spontaneously under the influence of everyday experience and constituting the foundation of their practical activity and morality. Common sense functions as the practical attitude of a philosophically unsophisticated person who persists in regarding reality as it immediately appears to him. Common sense is, in the final analysis, an uncritical combination of “naïve realism” with those traditional attitudes that are predominant in a given society. Inasmuch as the foundation of common sense is the immediately practical relation of man to the world, it never rises to the level of a scientific and philosophical perception of reality; in this lies its limitation. F. Engels wrote: “To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once and for all. ... At first sight this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called human common sense. Only sound common sense, a very respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the world of research” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Works, 2nd ed., vol. 20, p. 21). The problem of common sense is posed by Marxism in the context of building up the scientific world view and is above all a problem of the critical analysis of everyday, spontaneously formed consciousness.

In the history of philosophy there are opposing tendencies in the interpretation of the nature and significance of common sense. Thus, the French materialists of the 18th century held that man’s common sense was incompatible with religion, while representatives of the 18th-century Scottish school of common sense asserted that common sense must inevitably lead to belief in god. T. Reid believed that man’s consciousness is not a tabula rasa filled in through experience, as the sensationalists affirmed. On the contrary, experience itself was possible only to the extent that the human spirit possessed inborn principles of common sense, such as unshakable faith in god and in the surrounding world; philosophy could be constructed only on the basis of these principles.

In contemporary bourgeois philosophy there are contradic-tory interpretations of common sense as well. The so-called realistic movements (neorealism, critical realism) proceed from the assumption that common sense by necessity must postulate the existence of actual reality, without which “man can neither live nor philosophize” (G. Santayana, USA). On the other hand, the representatives of religious thought believe that common sense leads to an unavoidable recognition of the existence of god. Finally, according to pragmatism, common sense is identical with the utility or advantage a man derives in a given situation.

D. M. LUKANOV

References in periodicals archive ?
We have the power to be safe and free by using common sense.
released the following statement welcoming the National Rifle Associations (NRA) announcement that the organization will support common sense gun safety measures on bump fire stocks in the wake of the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas:
We've all witnessed the violation of common sense in the workplace, from hiring someone that doesn't have the skills for the job to losing valuable people because of a needless conflict with the boss.
Common sense is about using good judgment regarding practical matters.
Or, maybe, would it make more sense to talk about the common sense of human life, happiness, and healthy bodies?
Through a new partnership with the online marketing specialists at Prospect Genius, local company Common Sense Inspections Inc.
Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea, by Robert Curry.
The Common Sense Parenting series from Boy's Town Press is a guide filled with research-tested methods, adaptive skills, tips, tricks, and techniques for parents of children.
Constitutional Calculus: The Math of Justice and the Myth of Common Sense considers what would happen if we replaced the electoral college with a direct popular vote, and analyzes the social and political impact of such a move.
He contributes here to the latter tradition, covering Berkeley's optics, his common sense, the hidden metaphor, explicit and implicit common sense, modern analogies of implicit common sense, epistemology in the middle of the 20th century, idea and thing, the continuity of unperceived objects, continuity and God, and how Berkeley proves God.
Lack of common sense IN reply to the letter from TOOTH HURTS (October 29).