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What is Common Sense?
The phrase “common sense,” as common sense philosophers use it, refers to a broad set of foundational beliefs that are presupposed in human discourse and action and help to make possible our ability to engage in everyday life. For example, when you want to buy something at a store, you and the shopkeeper both assume a large number of things that you would never have to actually state: that the item you are bringing to the register really exists, that you and the shopkeeper both exist, that you both have minds capable of understanding what is happening, that time will continue to move forward throughout the transaction, that the floor beneath your feet is real, that you can choose whether or not you want to buy the item, that it would be wrong for you to torture and kill the shopkeeper and then steal the item for no good reason, that you have both existed for more than five minutes, and probably a vast number of other beliefs. A fundamental, shared understanding of the world is presupposed in all ordinary human action and conversation, and the elements of that understanding are the principles of common sense. Common sense philosophers believe that if your philosophical worldview is at odds with any significant portion of that understanding, then your philosophical view should be rejected.
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