Common Sense

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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.


References in periodicals archive ?
Within a commonsensical temporality, processuality is perceived in a reduced way.
For Deleuze and Guattari, psychoanalysis assists to establish a commonsensical world by suffocating many different or sick thoughts.
DOES D Brown's letter, Commonsensical (Mailbag, December 13) support the driver who killed a man, ran away, put a false insurance claim and got away with it for three years before being caught?
It offers a systematic approach and a commonsensical hierarchy.
If you are going into business with a friend, having a formal agreement at the outset may seem a bit of a dreary distraction, but it could be the most commonsensical thing that you ever do.
Arnell's advice is commonsensical and he presents it in an easy-to-read manner that shows more often than it tells.
The recommendations made by the CPC were equally commonsensical, ranging from market studies listing trends and main players to preliminary calculations of the range of financial bids, as well as collecting data on previous public tenders, preventing information leaks and meetings between bidding rivals.
Tourism, both materially and symbolically, was not a driver of "defascistization" but instead of a form "microfascistization" in which "the task of state politics [were] largely delegated to disembodied, commonsensical rationales, to commercial entertainment, and to consumer products.
Only once during their commonsensical tenure have they played six, a boring run fest in Barbados.
Lennie was level headed and commonsensical towards most things that happened during his tenure, though funnily enough Boro's trip to Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday reminds me of one of the few occasions I saw him lose his rag.
After all, you shouldn't even assume that everybody enjoys good-natured laughter in response to a funny situation, however commonsensical that might seem.
Boring, commonsensical Lloyds TSB is all over the headlines for taking on - never say rescuing - our biggest mortgage lender at a time of collapsing house prices.