Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Common Sense -- In Our Time

In Our Time opens with a couple of quotes on how philosophers generally lack common sense. Or so, at least is the common sense opinion, from non-philosophers. When philosophers themselves try to preserve common sense in their work, what comes of such an enterprise?

One such common sense notion that philosophers may want to preserve is what is known in philosophy as realism. This is the idea that there is an external world that we perceive through our senses. In other words: the world is real and we can largely trust our senses. One will want to try to defend this idea and rather not turn into a skeptic, one who is not sure and doubts the trustworthiness of our senses, or turn, god forbid, into an idealist, one who rejects the idea of an external world.


The project to preserve common sense ideas such as realism is, upon close scrutiny quite hazardous and In Our Time, while discussing among others Bacon, Descartes, Hume and Kant, show how even when one sets out to give a firm philosophical base to common sense, runs into much trouble. To find that even Wittgenstein is supposed to be an adherent of common sense philosophy confuses me as my former attempts at reading and understanding Wittgenstein have confused me.

Forty two and a half minutes of quality podcast, on the other hand, are quite the treat and making much amends.
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