Common sense

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Common sense may refer to the following:

  1. a shared understanding of reality, a "common sense" of what that reality is - a common sense that the world is very messed up
    • As society has become more splintered by the existence of niche media which are allowed to propagate inaccurate information, groups having a shared "common sense" of reality have become more and more fragmented.
  2. a strong intuitive feeling, not necessarily accurate, that something is obvious - you can't change genders; that's just common sense or (conversely) you can't get free energy by plugging a power-strip into itself; that's just common sense
    • This may consist of:
      • a set of simple heuristics (rules/guidelines) that are usually (but not always) right
      • beliefs the speaker has been taught since childhood


The phrase can also be misused as an argument from normality or argument from popular belief:

  • A belief exists which is deemed "common sense".
    • This assumes that what one has been taught must be true, and ignores evidence to the contrary.
  • Evidence which contradicts that belief is dismissed as "not common sense".
    • This assumes that since the heuristics don't mention any exceptions, the exceptions must not exist.

Both of these are cases of mistaking the map for the territory.