KARL JASPERS FORUM
TA 100 (Smith)

Commentary 9

 

CAN COMMON SENSE BE AN OBJECT OF STUDY?
by Serge Patlavskiy
8 February 2008, posted 16 February 2008

 


<1>
[Roulette William Smith] wrote: "[2] Philosophy Professor David J. Chalmers suggests that the challenges of consciousness should be dichotomized into "easy problems," on the one hand, and the "hard" or "really hard problem," on the other hand (1995)."

<2>
[S.P.] Them's my sentiments: what if the hard problem of consciousness does not exist at all ?  What if what is heralded as a "hard problem of consciousness" is nothing but a personal hard problem for a certain (Down Under) philosopher when he tries to account for consciousness ?  But, at any rate, it's not good to lay the personal problem on others, and, even more so, to make that problem a part of some mainstream paradigm in consciousness studies.  Personally, I have not met such a problem when developing my informational approach to consciousness yet (it's, possibly, because I use an appropriate means of formalization of the object of study).

<3>
[Roulette William Smith] wrote: "[7] Persons who do not have "common sense" occasionally may not understand, may misunderstand, cannot understand, misinterpret, or may be out of touch with their consciousness and/or realities.  [11] A possible molecular and evolutionary basis for common sense was investigated during the past three years…"

<4>
[S.P.] If we try to enframe "common sense" as an object of study we should put it clear what we are talking about.  To act (or think) according to common sense means to act (to think) as many others would act (think) in the same situation -- hence the adjective "common".  The term "common sense" can in one-to-one be replaced by the term "rationality"; it can also be regarded as a synonym of such terms as "folk wisdom", "instinct of self-preservation", "to work for one's own benefit", etc.  (For example, to act according to the instinct of self-preservation is to act according to common sense).  So, common sense (or, rationality, or folk wisdom, etc.) is a characteristic of behaviour and thinking, and itself cannot be some specific object of study.  We can talk only about such objects of study as "behaviour in accord with common sense", or "thinking in accord with common sense", etc.

<5>
Moreover, it would be nonsensical to talk about any molecular basis of common sense.  The case is that common sense -- it is a result of comparing of our own intentions to behave (or think) in such or other way with the behaviour (and thinking) of the majority of the members of society (the behaviour and thinking that brings about the successful results).  It is standing to reason that the "result of comparing" is not a thing, and can have nor molecular, nor any other material basis.  But it can have an informational basis.

<6>
Second.
The behaviour (thinking) in accord with common sense is common to all possible living organisms -- it is a normal consequence of possessing consciousness.  Can we name even a one single living organism whose behaviour can be treated as nonsensical even from our human's point of view ?  Therefore, it would be fruitless to talk about evolutionary basis of common sense as well.

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Serge Patlavskiy
     e-mail <prodigypsf (at) rambler.ru>