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WILLIAM FLEMING - 1890 - Table of contents

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H- I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W  

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden


Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy







COMMON SENSE (sensus communis, κοινὴ ἄισθησις).— (1) Intelligence common to all men; the word "sense" is here used as equivalent to cognitive power, but especially as spontaneous or instinctive. "Common Sense" is thus cognitive power common to humanity. (2) Popular usage, in making it equivalent to sagacity and prudence combined, thus involving a mark of distinction among men. The former is the only philosophic use of the term, and is that intended when the early Scottish Philosophy was named the Philosophy of Common Sense.


It is that philosophy which accepts the testimony of our faculties as trustworthy within their respective spheres, and rests secondary or derived knowledge on certain first truths or primitive beliefs, which are the constitutive elements or fundamental forms of our rational nature, and the regulating principles of our conduct. This became the descriptive title of the Philosophy of "the Scotch School," as it is distinguished for an ultimate appeal to consciousness, and to the principles of intelligence common to the mind of man.

The father of the Scottish Philosophy states his position thus:—"There is a certain degree of sense which is necessary to our being subjects of law and government, capable of managing our own affairs, and answerable for our conduct to others. This is called common sense, because it is common to all men with whom we can transact business or whom we call to account for their conduct... The same degree of understanding which makes a man capable of acting with common prudence in life, makes him capable of discerning what is true and what is false in matters that are self-evident, and which he distinctly apprehends" (Reid, Intellectual Powers, essay VI. ch. II., Hamilton's ed., Works, p. 422; Stewart's Elements of Philosophy of Human Mind, pt. II. ch. I., Works, III. p. 51).

"A power of the mind which perceives truth, not by progressive argumentation, but by an instinctive and instantaneous impulse; derived neither from education nor from habit, but from nature; acting independently upon our will, whenever the object is presented, according to an established law; and, therefore, not improperly, called a sense, and acting in the same manner upon all mankind; and, therefore, properly called common sense, the ultimate judge of truth" (Beattie, Essay on Truth, pt. I. ch. I, 10th ed., p. 26).

For a full discussion of the Philosophy of Common Sense, with extended reference to authorities—Hamilton, note A to Reid's Works, pp. 743-803. For history of the Scottish School —M'Cosh, The Scottish Philosophy.



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