Common sense - Theory and practice of argumentation

Common Sense

Appeal to common sense was highly valued in antiquity and developed as an opposition between wisdom ( sophia ) and practical knowledge ( fronesis ). This opposition was theoretically developed by Aristotle and brought by his followers to the level of criticism of the theoretical life ideal.

Practical knowledge, which guides the actions of man, is a special, independent type of knowledge; it is directed to a specific situation and requires the consideration of "circumstances" in their infinite variety. Life is not built on the basis of theoretical principles and general principles, it is concrete and guided by concrete knowledge, judged from the position of common sense.

Moral motives in the notion of common sense were emphasized by the French philosopher A. Bergson. In his definition, it is pointed out that although common sense is connected with feelings, it is realized at the social level. Feelings put us in some way related to things, common sense guides our relationships with people. He is not so much a gift, as a constant adjustment of eternally new situations, work to adapt to the reality of general principles.

Essential value is given to common sense by modern philosophical hermeneutics, which opposes its intellectualization and its reduction to the level of a simple amendment: that which in feelings, judgments and conclusions contradicts common sense can not be correct. Common sense can be roughly described as a common sense of truth and justice inherent in every person, acquired with life experience. Common sense is basically not knowledge. Rather, it is a way of selecting knowledge, then general illumination, through which the main and secondary are distinguished in knowledge and the extremes are depicted.

Common sense plays a special role in humanitarian argumentation and in discussing problems related to life and human activity.

The argument for common sense is the appeal to support the position put forward to a sense of common sense that the audience certainly has.

Common sense is one of the leading principles of human life. It unfolds not under the influence of science, philosophy or some general principles, but under the decisive impact of common sense. That is why it is necessary for the humanitarian scientist, who studies the moral and historical existence of man.

First of all, common sense manifests itself in judgments about right and wrong, fit and unfit.

"The owner of a sound judgment is not only able to determine the particular from the point of view of the general, but he knows what it really refers to, ie. sees things from the right, fair, healthy point of view. An adventurer who correctly calculates human weaknesses and always chooses the object for his deceptions, nevertheless is not a bearer of sound judgment in the full sense of the word. "

Let's apply common sense first of all in public, practical matters. With his help, they judge, relying not on the general dictates of the mind, but rather on convincing examples. Therefore, history and the experience of life are of paramount importance for him. Common sense can not be learned; only exercises are needed to develop it. It has a dual, descriptive and evaluative character: on the one hand, it relies on past events, and on the other hand is a draft, a project of the future.

With the change in public life, the notion of common sense also changes. For example, in ancient times, dreams seemed to an ordinary person to be one of the most important expressions of his soul, a material for predicting the future. In the Age of Enlightenment, the idea that dreams can be prophetic is already considered a prejudice; they saw mainly a reflection of somatic factors and an excess of spiritual passions. Later, again, the relationship between the character of a person and his dreams began to be seen: in dreams, the character and especially those hundred sides that do not manifest themselves in reality are reflected; in a person's dream, the hidden motives of his actions are realized, and therefore, by interpreting dreams, one can predict his future actions.

Common sense can be misleading, but it is usually a kind of delusion: it is a mistake not so much from the point of view of the context in which common sense was formed, but from the point of view of the subsequent period that gave rise to new ideas of common sense. In particular, this is the case with the disdainful attitude of the ancient and medieval man to science and scientists.

"All the methods, all the prerequisites of our current scientific thought," complains F. Nietzsche, "have been aroused for centuries by the deepest contempt: the scientist was not admitted into the society of" decent "people - was considered an" enemy of God, "who despised the truth, was considered" possessed " ... The whole pathos of mankind, all the concepts of what should be the truth, what should be the service of science, everything was against us; uttering "you are obliged! .." always turned these words against us ... Our objects, our devices, our noiseless, distrustful approach to things ... Everything seemed completely unworthy, despicable ... In the end, not to be unjust, I want to ask whether the aesthetic taste has dazzled humanity for so long; the taste required that the truth be a picture; from the man of knowledge, the taste equally required that he energetically affect our senses. Modesty was contrary to taste

Of course, it is not a matter of a crude aesthetic taste that requires scientists and science "truth-pictures", but in the remoteness of ancient and medieval science from the main stream of social life, the scarcity of the results of this science and their insignificance for real practical activity . For common sense to change its opinion about science, it had to find itself as an important dimension of everyday life. Common sense serves its era, and the significance of its judgments does not go beyond this era.

Although common sense primarily concerns social life, by its nature it is more universal, since it is able to judge about any activity and its results, including theoretical activity and its results - successive theories and concepts. However, in the theoretical field proper, common sense is an unreliable adviser: from modern theories, it is more reasonable to require paradoxicality, break with the orthodox, than the correspondence with the established notions of the world, summarized by the common sense of the scientist. Appeal to common sense is inevitable in the humanities intertwined in the historical tradition and are not only its understanding, but also its continuation. But this appeal is rare and unreliable in the natural sciences, seeking to abstract from their history.

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