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Common sense

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For the American revolutionary war pamphlet by Thomas Paine see Common Sense (pamphlet)

Common sense means what people would agree about. It is a personal judgement based on the situation and facts.[1] Common sense is usually the simplest and most direct account of a situation. It is the knowledge and experience which most people have, or should have. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, "the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way".[2]

Identifying items of knowledge as "common sense" is difficult. Common sense is a familiar topic in epistemology and many philosophers make wide use of the concept or at least refer to it. Common-sense ideas tend to relate to events within human experience. In contrast, people lack any common-sense intuition of the behavior of the universe at subatomic distances, or of speeds approaching that of light. Often ideas that may be considered to be true by common sense are in fact false. Conversely, certain ideas that are subject to elaborate academic analysis may be better explained by common sense.


  1. "Definition of common sense". Merriam Webster dictionary. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  2. common sense, Cambridge Dictionaries Online.