Sense, Common. The word sense, when not denoting a single sense in
itself, but its result as disclosing something external, seems nearly
synonymous with perception. By common sense the schoolmen meant the
apperception produced by the combined action of different senses. Sight,
hearing, and touch continually result in one impression of the object
before us. This is the common sense.
In the philosophy of Reid and his followers
common sense has a force different from this. Here it
denotes the primary beliefs which are common to all men, and
which, incapable of proof themselves, are the bases of all
proof. This is by no means identical with the conversational use
of the term, whereby it denotes the average judgment of men on
ordinary matters, the want of which makes a man act weakly and
Strange to say, however, no less a philosopher than
Sir James Mackintosh confounds the two, and blames Reid for adopting the
common sense as the base of his philosophy.