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Common sense, enemy or ally of philosophical dialogue? 2/3

Why didn't I consider summoning « common sense » in my philosophy workshops earlier ? And why, in general, is common sense not more widely used as a regulating tool in philosophical dialogue ?

People with philosophical training, including myself, are often obsessed with overcoming common sense, seeing it only as an obstacle that the philosopher must surpass. This exclusively negative vision is rooted in our desire to produce ideas that are out of the ordinary and to rise above the common man... A man who was interested in philosophy once told me, « If we don't know the philosophers, we may think our ideas are original, when others have had them before us ! »

No doubt this distrust of common sense was fostered by the Platonic condemnation of common opinion. Certainly, common sense can take the form of received ideas, of blind, superficial and dogmatic judgments, prejudicial to reflection, which philosophy must fight.

The problem is that we do not take charge of the positive meaning of this concept. For common sense can also play the role of a safeguard against the traps of our thinking: when it gets carried away in extravagant ideas, when it moves unreasonably away from experience, and locks itself in subjectivity without being aware of it. This « sense » allows us to keep our feet on the ground in a way, to remain connected to the real world and to others.

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