This article refers to a broad form of understanding.
- For the political tract Common Sense, see Thomas Paine.
- For the rapper formerly known as "Common Sense", see Common (rapper).
Common sense, roughly speaking, is what people in common would agree: that which they "sense" in common as their shared natural understanding. Some use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that in their opinion they consider would in most people's experience be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what is believed to be knowledge held by people "in common".
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- Alphabetized by author
- Common sense should be renamed, cos nower days it's rare
- Jamie Adenuga, aka JME, grime artist and rapper, from the song JME
- Commonsense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life
- Henri Fredrick Amiel, in “On the Art of Business” p. 88
- Many quite nefarious ideologies pass for common sense. For decades of American history, it was common sense in some quarters for white people to own slaves and for women not to vote. ... If common sense sometimes preserves the social status quo, and that status quo sometimes treats unjust social hierarchies as natural, it makes good sense on such occasions to find ways of challenging common sense.
- Judith Butler, “A 'Bad Writer' Bites Back,” The New York Times, March 20, 1999
- Common sense is that which tells us the world is flat.
- A weak mind with no common sense magnifies trifling things and cannot receive great ones.
- Lord Chesterfield, in “Thoughts for Meaningful Life” p. 96
- Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge "Hacket's Life of Lord Keeper Williams", notes published in The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol. 3 (1838), ed. Henry Nelson Coleridge, p. 186
- Common sense is only the application of theories which have grown and been formulated unconsciously as result of experience.
- Hardy Cross, "For Mans Use of God's Gifts", collected in Engineers and Ivory Towers (1952), ed. Robert C. Goodpasture, p. 107
- Le bon sens est la chose du monde la mieux partagée; car chacun pense en être si bien pourvu, que ceux même qui sont les plus difficiles à contenter en toute autre chose n'ont point coutume d'en désirer plus qu'ils en ont.
- Good sense is of all things in the world the most equally distributed, for everybody thinks he is so well supplied with it that even those most difficult to please in all other matters never desire more of it than they already possess.
- René Descartes, Discours de la Méthode (1637), Part I, incipit.
- Variant: Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.
- As attributed in Ian Glynn, An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind (2003), p. 7
- Unless the materials involved can be traced back to the material of common sense concern there is nothing whatever for scientific concern to be concerned with.
- John Dewey, "Common Sense and Science", The Journal of Philosophy 45:8 (18 April 1948), §3; as reprinted in John Dewey: The Later Works, Vol. 16: 1949–1952 (1989), ed. Jo Ann Boydston, p. 252
- I don’t profess to be profound, but I do lay claim to common sense.
- Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down by the mind before you reach eighteen.
- Attributed to Albert Einstein in Mathematics, Queen and Servant of the Sciences (1952) by Eric Temple Bell. However, this may only be based on a paraphrase or summary of his views as documented at Quote Investigator.
- Paraphrased variant: Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
- Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Art (1841)
- Common sense is as rare as genius.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Anatomy of Judgment p. 88
- The physician would be even worse off than he is, if not for the occasional emergence of common sense which breaks through dogmas with intuitive freshness.
- Alexander Goldenweiser, Robots or Gods (1931), p. 62
- Science and common sense differ as cultivated fruits differ from wild fruits. Science sows its seeds of inquiry, and gathers the fruit. Common sense picks the fruit, such as it, is by the wayside. Common sense has no fields or orchards of knowledge.
- Sir William Withey Gull, A Collection of the Published Writings of William Withey Gull, Vol. 2: Memoir and Addresses (1896), ed. Theodore Dyke Acland, "Notes and Aphorisms", p. liv
- Common Sense and Education: The more you think you have of one, the less you think you need of the other.
- Tom Heehler, The Well-Spoken Thesaurus (2011)
- In all spheres of science, art, skill, and handicraft it is never doubted that, in order to master them, a considerable amount of trouble must be spent in learning and in being trained. As regards philosophy, on the contrary, there seems still an assumption prevalent that, though every one with eyes and fingers is not on that account in a position to make shoes if he only has leather and a last, yet everybody understands how to philosophize straight away, and pass judgment on philosophy, simply because he possesses the criterion for doing so in his natural reason.
- The phrase is self-contradictory; "sense" is never "common".
- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973), Prelude II
- It is a strange irony that the principles of science should seem to deny the necessary conviction of common sense.
- Lawrence Joseph Henderson, The order of Nature (1917), Ch. 5
- Consider the very roots of our ability to discern truth. Above all (or perhaps I should say "underneath all"), common sense is what we depend on – that crazily elusive, ubiquitous faculty we all have to some degree or other.... If we apply common sense to itself over and over again, we wind up building a skyscraper. The ground floor of the structure is the ordinary common sense we all have, and the rules for building news floors are implicit in the ground floor itself. However, working it all out is a gigantic task, and the result is a structure that transcends mere common sense.
- Douglas Hofstadter, Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern (1985), pp. 93–94
- Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man's upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Poet at the Breakfast-Table (1872), Ch. 5, p. 140 (p. 120 in the 1891 edition)
- What is common sense? That which attracts the least opposition: that which brings most agreeable and worthy results.
- E. W. Howe, in "Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately" p. 424; quoting from Sinner Sermons: A Selection of the Best Paragraphs of E W Howe (1926)
- Common sense is in spite of, not the result of education.
- Widely attributed to Victor Hugo posthumously but not in any of his published works. No sources indicating origins have been found.
- Science, is I believe, nothing but trained and organized common sense, differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only so far as the guardsman’s cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields a club.
- Thomas Henry Huxley, "On the Educational Value of the Natural History Sciences" (1854), as reprinted in Collected Essays by T. H. Huxley Vol 3: Science and Education (1894), p. 45
- Common sense, the half-truths of a deceitful society, is honored as the honest truths of a frank world.
- Russell Jacoby, Social Amnesia (1975), p. 23-25
- The original Marxist notion of ideology was conveniently forgotten because it inconveniently did not exempt common sense and empiricism from the charge of ideology.
- Russell Jacoby, Social Amnesia (1975), pp. 6-7
- Common-sense contents itself with the unreconciled contradiction, laughs when it can, and weeps when it must, and makes, in short, a practical compromise, without trying a theoretical solution.
- William James, "German Pessimism" (1875), a review of Der Modern Pessimismus by Edmund Pfleiderer; as reprinted in Collected Essays and Reviews by William James (1920), ed. Ralph Barton Perry, p. 17
- In practical talk, a man's common sense means his good judgement, his freedom from eccentricity, his gumption.
- William James, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907), Lecture 5: "Pragmatism and Common sense"
- We know that the probability of well-established induction is great, but, when we are asked to name its degree we cannot. Common sense tells us that some inductive arguments are stronger than others, and that some are very strong. But how much stronger or how strong we cannot express.
- John Maynard Keynes, A Treatise on Probability (1921), ch. 22, p. 259
- A small overweight of knowledge is often a sore impediment to the movements of common sense.
- Peter Mere Latham, as attributed without citation in Aphorisms from Latham (1962), ed. William Bennett Bean, p. 37
- I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic.
- H. L. Mencken, as quoted in LIFE magazine, Vol. 21, No. 6, (5 August 1946), p. 52
- I am one of those philosophers who have held that that "the Common Sense view of the world" is in certain fundamental features, wholly true.
- George Edward Moore, "A Defence of Common Sense", as reprinted in Moore, Philosophical Papers (1959), p. 44
- At some level you have to use common sense over the law.
- Joe Nicassio, in “Resurrecting America's Entrepreneurial Spirit: A Practical Approach for ...” p. 69
- The common sense of common men … has not been seriously affected by these still academic aberrations of our alleged wise men.
- Niebuhr, in “Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms: A Dictionary of Discriminated ...”p.722
- Common sense is not wrong in the view that is meaningful , appropriate and necessary to talk about the large objects of our daily experience…Common sense is wrong only if it insists that what is familiar must reappear in what is unfamiliar.
- James Robert Oppenheimer, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately” p. 425
- The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.
- Paul of Tarsus, First Letter to the Corinthians, 3:19
- Common sense always speaks too late. Common sense is the guy who tells you you ought to have had your brakes relined last week before you smashed a front end this week. Common sense is the Monday morning quarterback who could have won the ball game if he had been on the team. But he never is. He's high up in the stands with a flask on his hip. Common sense is the little man in a grey suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it's always somebody else's money he's adding up.
- Misprize common sense at your peril is my motto.
- A policeman, in Stanley and the Women (1984) by Kingsley Amis
- The more elaborate our means of our common sense is, the less the common sense it becomes.
- Joseph Priestly, in “Thoughts for Meaningful Life” p. 96
- By the Chinese, reasonableness is placed on a higher level than reason. For while reason is always abstract, analytical, idealistic, and inclined toward logical extremes, the spirit of reasonableness or common sense is always realistic;...
- Suoqiao Qian, in 林語堂雙語文選, p. 49
- In the little corner of Umbria of which I am now writing there are samples of buildings so beautiful and so full of common sense that they give the lie to modern so-called utilitarian rubbish. It is amazing they are not copied, or at any rate that their great qualities as domestic architecture do not stimulate emulation and awaken some symptom of good taste in modern Italy.
- William Blake Richmond, in Assisi: Impressions of Half a Century (1919), p. 192
- I am a strong individualist by personal habit, inheritance, and conviction; but it is a mere matter of common sense to recognize that the State, the community, the citizens acting together, can do a number of things better than if they were left to individual action.
- It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all try something.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately” p. 425
- Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bttling the common sense
- Helen Rowland, in “Women Know Everything!: 3,241 Quips, Quotes, & Brilliant Remarks”.
- Since the world is what it is, it is clear that valid reasoning from sound principles cannot lead to error; but a principle may be so nearly true as to deserve theoretical respect, and yet may lead to practical consequences which we feel to be absurd. There is therefore a justification for common sense in philosophy, but only as showing that our theoretical principles cannot be quite correct so long as their consequences are condemned by an appeal to common sense which we feel to be irresistible. The theorist may retort that common sense is no more infallible than logic. But this retort, though made by Berkeley and Hume, would have been wholly foreign to Locke's intellectual temper.
- Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1945)
- Common sense, however it tries, cannot avoid being surprised from time to time. The aim of science is to save it from such surprises.
- Bertrand Russel, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately” p. 425
- For the laboratory worker the most valuable asset is common sense and he must be able to bring to mind the possibilities of the production of various artifacts and results from trivial errors in technique.
- Edwards Rhodes Stitt, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately”, p. 426
- Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
- Gertrude Stein, in “Women Know Everything!: 3,241 Quips, Quotes, & Brilliant Remarks”, p. 230
- Common sense is seeing things as they are and doing things as they ought to be.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe, in “Women Know Everything!: 3,241 Quips, Quotes, & Brilliant Remarks”, p. 230
- Common sense will enhance your performance exponentially. Common sense will provide you with an incredible competitive advantage. Quite simply common sense will propel your career.
- Ken Tanner, in “Common Sense: Get It, Use It, and Teach It in the Workplace” p.xvi
- If we have a logical process, we are more apt to make logical choices. And good choices show good common sense.
- Ken Tanner, in “Common Sense: Get It, Use It, and Teach It in the Workplace” p. 82
- In our sports-crazed society, not knowing that a field goal is worth three points will not only get you branded as lacking common sense, some people will think you are a subversive communist.
- Ken Tanner, in “Common Sense: Get It, Use It, and Teach It in the Workplace” p. 15
- ...Common sense is the very antipodes of science.
- Edward Bradford Titchner, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately” p. 426
- There is absolutely no common sense, it is common non-sense.
- Henry David Thoreau, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately” p. 426
- Life is a game of common sense. You can know all the data that the encyclopedia holds, but if you can't apply it to social situations and day to day events, you're on the same rank as someone with no data at all.
- Zack W. Van, in The Importance of Living: Idle Philosophy Born of an Idle Life
- Enlightened common sense sticks by the opaque truth and refuses to go behind the returns given by the triangle of facts.
- Thorstein Veblen, in “Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately” p. 426
- On dit quelquefois: "Le sens commun est fort rare."
- People sometimes say: "Common sense is quite rare."
- Voltaire, "Common Sense," Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (1765)
- The better known variant of this quote is "Common sense is not so common," said to be in the Dictionnaire philosophique entry "Self-Love"; but it is not found there.
- People sometimes say: "Common sense is quite rare."
- They were so full of common sense that they have been widely copied and commented upon all over the world. They did not present a single new idea — they simply brought back to memory a lost art — the art of taking your employes — not alone your superintendent and your foreman — your employees into your confidence enough to take them out of the class of machine tools and to put them into the class of intelligent human beings. This does not mean turn the shop over to them or put them on the board of directors — not a bit of it, simply tell the workers, your workers what they are doing, why they are doing it and what the results will be — stop treating them exactly as you do the mule that pulls the ash cart.
- A. F. Greaves-Walker, on the writings of Boyd Cable, which bore the title "Tell the Workers", which he used for his own article in Brick and Clay Record, Vol. 55, Issue 10, (4 November 1919), p. 853
- To act with common sense, according to the moment is the best wisdom and the best philosophy is to one’s duties, take the world as it comes submit respectfully to one’s lot; bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it; despise affectation.
- Horace Walpole, in “On the Art of Business” p. 215
- ...that is one of the great secrets of life. Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
- Oscar Wilde, in [ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=PT9LmqxcCbsC&pg=PA204 The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: The picture of Dorian Gray : the 1890 and...] p. 204
- There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.
- Anonymous saying, dating back at least to its citation in Natural Theology (1836) by Thomas Chalmers, Bk. II, Ch. III : On the Strength of the Evidences for a God in the Phenomena of Visible and External Nature, § 15, where the author states: "It has been said that there is nothing more uncommon than common sense."; it has since become misattributed to particular people, including Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Common sense is the best guide for a good living. Intelligence is not measured by the ability to read or resolve abstract-equations quickly. Intelligence is the ability to use common sense and manage once life for happiness.
- Anonymous, in “Thoughts for Meaningful Life” p. 96
- A good common sense is not in need of rules, regulations, and laws of governing, or signs of directing
- Anonymous, in “Thoughts for Meaningful Life” p. 96
- Common sense will nearly always stand you in better stead than a slavish adherence to the conventions.
- Anonymous, in [http://books.google.co.in/books?id=ySdoSQbzQRwC&pg=PT49 Mills & Boon Regency Collection 2012