The Epistemic Authority of Common Sense

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Abstract

This chapter explores why we should think common sense has epistemic authority. First, it lays out exactly what common sense and the supposed epistemic authority of common sense amount to. It then assesses seven proposals that we find in the literature as to why common sense has epistemic authority. They say, respectively, that common-sense beliefs are irresistible; that there are no serious epistemic alternatives to thinking that common-sense beliefs have epistemic authority; that common-sense beliefs are certain, or at least more certain than any alternatives; that common-sense beliefs are instances of knowledge; that common-sense beliefs are vague and ambiguous and, therefore, likely to be true; that common-sense beliefs are the product of a reliable process of cultural evolution; and, finally, that God would not deceive us on such a large scale. The chapter argues that the first five answers are not convincing, not even jointly, but that the sixth answer is and that the seventh reply may well be combined with it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Common-Sense Philosophy
EditorsRik Peels, René van Woudenberg
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter10
Pages225-246
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781108598163, 9781108636247
ISBN (Print)9781108476003, 9781108469364
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameCambridge Companion Series

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