By Scott Philip Segrest
From Aristotle to Thomas Jefferson, seminal thinkers have declared 'common feel' crucial for ethical discernment and civilized dwelling. but the tale of common-sense philosophy isn't renowned this present day. In "America and the Political Philosophy of universal Sense", Scott Segrest lines the historical past and explores the private and social that means of good judgment as understood particularly in American concept and as mirrored in particular within the writings of 3 paradigmatic thinkers: John Witherspoon, James McCosh, and William James. the 1st signify Scottish logic and the 3rd, Pragmatism, the universities that jointly ruled American better suggestion for almost centuries. informed american citizens of the founding interval warmly acquired Scottish logic, Segrest writes, since it mirrored so good what they already inspiration, and he uncovers the elemental components of yankee good judgment in studying the idea of Witherspoon, who brought that philosophy to them. With McCosh, he indicates the furthest improvement and bounds of the philosophy, and with it of yankee logic in its Scottish realist part. With James, he indicates different dimensions of logic american citizens had lengthy embraced yet that had by no means been tested philosophically. sincerely, Segrest's paintings is way greater than an highbrow historical past. it's a research of the yankee brain and of good judgment itself - its crucial personality and its human value, either ethical and political. It was once logic, he affirms, that underlay the announcement of Independence and the founders' rules of correct and legal responsibility which are nonetheless with us this day. Segrest means that knowing this starting place and James' clean of it can be the major to holding America's important ethical center opposed to a turning out to be alienation from logic around the Western global. Stressing the urgency of realizing and protecting good judgment, Segrest's paintings sheds new mild on an undervalued element of yankee notion and adventure, supporting us to understand the ramifications of common-sense philosophy for dignified dwelling.
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Additional resources for America and the political philosophy of common sense
41 Neither Shaftesbury nor Vico mean to suggest that there is one and only one right response to a given circumstance—not at all, but rather, simply, that some responses can be seen to fit and others to be out of joint. The essential thing is that the man of wit finds something to say that works for the occasion, that meets the needs of the community for an answer. Shaftesbury’s influence on Vico may be uncertain, but his influence on the course of thought in Britain is beyond question. His ideas on moral sentiments, in particular, spurred the thinking of Francis Hutcheson and David Hume.
Shaftesbury’s sensus communis in fact presupposes a moral sense that functions just as Hutcheson says it does. 48 Hume, Kant, and Reid Like Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, Hume understands morality in aesthetic terms. 49 Hume even agrees with Hutcheson’s account of the moral sense on all essential points. 51 But Hume’s epistemology fatally undermines the possibility of humanly accessible moral truth. This was central to Thomas Reid’s motivation in undertaking his painstaking analyses of the operations of the mind in An Inquiry into the Human Mind, the Essays on the Intellectual Powers, and the Essays on the Active Powers.
Sensus communis was a term widely used during Roman times, in both formal and informal contexts. Aquinas thus chose for his translation of koine aesthesis a term of great currency. Cicero had made several references to sensus communis in his writings and public speeches but had never made use of it as a technical philosophical concept. ” S. E. W. ”20 The meanings of humanitas, Bugter says, correspond closely to the four connotations of sensus communis that C. S. ’”21 The Stoic koine ennoiai (common conceptions) are “the axioms of theorizing and the norms of practical life, .