Thomas Reid's Position on Common Sense

Thomas Reid
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Running Head: THOMAS REID’S POSITION ON COMMON SENSE Thomas Reid’s Position on Common Sense [Name] [University] The Common Sense Philosophy emerged back in the 17th and 18th centuries as a response to the challenges that were posed by philosophical scepticism and then science.


This was thought to condition human experience and make possible knowledge of moral, religious, and scientific kind. The first thinkers were Herbert of Cherbury, as well as Rene Descartes; other British representatives were Henry Lee, Claude Buffier, Henry Home, G. Leibniz, and many more (Redekop, 2009, p.407). Thomas Reid is considered a founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense, whose ideas influenced several generations of philosophers well throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Rejecting the Theory of ideas, he claimed that it was “sensus communis” (the term Reid used to describe the “common sense”) that should be perceived as a solid basis of the philosophical quest. Reid’s main arguments on common sense revolved around his reaction to the ideas by Hume and Berkeley. Hume believed that a person can never comprehend what the world which is external for him/her consists of, since human knowledge is restricted by the ideas that are present in human mind. Berkeley, in his turn, maintained that the external world is just ideas inherent in human mind. Both Berkeley and Hume asserted that a mental phenomenon exists as perceptions of certain mental objects (Yaffe & Nichols, 2009, [online]). Contrary to these philosophers, Reid asserted that the foundations of common sense provide a justification to human belief in the existence of an external world. ...
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