Alberto Requina: Common Sense and Science

Common sense, often referred to as “the wisdom of life,” is a concept that is as widespread as it is elusive. It is a combination of practical judgment, intuitive perception and acquired experience, which guides people in making everyday decisions. It is crucial to the daily development of our lives. It facilitates quick and efficient decision-making in ordinary situations, from household management to social interaction. It serves as a beacon in solving everyday problems and helps avoid rash or dangerous decisions. Contrary to popular belief, common sense is not just a trait you are born with; It evolves and refines over time. Exposure to different situations, thinking about past experiences, and observing others play a crucial role in its development. Education, both formal and informal, also contributes to the development of common sense by expanding understanding of the world and improving governance.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published a paper consisting of a sample of 2,000 people who commented on 4,400 statements, concluding that there is no common sense common among society as a whole. They state that the results suggest that “there tends to be a reasonable amount of common sense between two people, but as a society there is little common sense shared by all.” There are a few things we all agree on. This is still a call to pay attention to heterogeneity as the most common factor in groups. We use common sense as an argument for authority, being a vague and elusive feeling that is not easy to define. It is still strange that using common sense in this area as a reference generally assumes that the other is wrong because he does not share it.

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Common sense has changed over time, from culture to culture, and from environment to environment. The influence of science on its development is noticeable. Deep-rooted perceptions are corrected by the evidence provided by science. Traditionally, common sense has been viewed as a set of beliefs and practices based on experience and direct observation. In past ages, these beliefs were often accepted without question and formed the basis of everyday decision-making. However, with the advent of the scientific age, this paradigm began to change.

Science has greatly expanded our understanding of the world, challenging and redefining what we consider “common.” Concepts that were once accepted as self-evident truths have been refined or disproved through scientific discoveries. For example, Einstein's theory of relativity and advances in quantum physics have challenged our understanding of fundamental concepts such as time and space, which were previously considered intuitive and obvious. As science advances, there is a need to reconcile scientific knowledge with common sense. This involves continuous learning and adapting our perceptions. Education plays a crucial role in this process, providing people with the tools to understand and accept scientific concepts that may initially seem counterintuitive.

The change in common sense due to science presents challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, it can arouse suspicion and resistance among those who find it difficult to abandon traditional beliefs. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity for a deeper and more accurate understanding of the world, encouraging critical thinking and increasing openness to new ideas. The influence of science on common sense is a testament to the dynamic nature of human knowledge. As we advance in our scientific understanding, our common sense evolves, expanding the boundaries of what we consider obvious or self-evident. This interplay between science and common sense not only enriches our understanding of the world, but also prompts us to constantly question, explore, and grow in our pursuit of knowledge.

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Common sense is a vital tool in everyday life, facilitating decision making and problem solving. However, like any tool, it has its limitations and must be used in conjunction with other forms of knowledge. Recognizing and developing common sense, while understanding its limitations, is essential for successfully navigating the complex world in which we live.

Myrtle Frost

"Reader. Evil problem solver. Typical analyst. Unapologetic internet ninja."

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