Tag Archives: R.G. Collingwood

‘Scientific Persecution’ and the Argument from Common Sense

L. Jaffro (2009). L’argument du sens commun et la ‘persécution des scientifiques’. Philosophiques. Revue de la Société de philosophie du Québec, 36(1), 131-147. http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/038013ar

Drawing mainly on An Essay on Philosophical Method (1933) and on The New Leviathan (1942), this paper sets out R. G. Collingwood’s main arguments against G. E. Moore’s appeal to common sense. According to The New Leviathan, the recourse to common sense as a safeguard against scepticism or idealism leads to ‘scientific persecution’ and ‘obscurantism’. That view might be considered as excessive. However, after a close examination of the structure of the argument from common sense, Collingwood’s critique appears to be relevant. This does not prevent him from using the notion of common sense, understood as a set of basic beliefs. There is no contradiction here, provided that we distinguish the notion of common sense from the argument from common sense.