[lit-ideas] Koine aisthesis (Arist. _Peri phuseos_ iii 602b)

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007 15:49:49 EST

W. O.:
>>what "sensus communis" is about?
I expect you mean to ask in Kant _specifically_? There's alas no ref. to  
Kant in the OED. "Alas" is meant ironically. 
I believe the thing was introduced by Aristotle.
Apparently it's something like a sixth sense, since the Grecians thought  
that there are (I follow) only five senses (and no more than five).
So 'common sense' was derogatorily referred to (by Juvenal?) as the 'least  
common of the senses'.
There is a lot of punning going on there, with 'common' meaning 'shared'.  So 
what's that the five senses (smell, see, touch, hear, taste) _share_?
How this connects with Aristotle's phronesis escapes me but not R.  Paul!
The OED defines it as "an ‘internal’ sense which was regarded as the common  
bond or centre of the five senses, in which the various impressions received  
were reduced to the unity of a common consciousness" The first quote being
1398-1509  common wit s.v. COMMON a. 21. as  'common wit'. The strict first 
1543 TRAHERON Vigo's Chirurg. I. ii. 3 They [eyes]  were ordeyned of nature 
in the former part [of the head]..that they might carye  visible thinges to ye 
commune sens. 1606  L. BRYSKETT Civ. Life 123 Which common  sense, is a power 
or facultie of the sensitiue soule..and is therefore  called common, because 
it receiueth commonly the formes or images which the  exteriour senses present 
vnto it, and hath power to distinguish the one from the  other. 
1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. I. i.  II. vii, 
Inner Senses are three in number, so  called, because they be within the 
brain-pan, as Common Sense, Phantasie,  Memory..This Common sense is the Judge 
Moderator of the rest, by whom we  discern all differences of objects. Ibid. 
III.  xiii, The external senses and the common sense considered  together are 
like a circle with five lines drawn from the circumference to the  centre. 
I think this is very good. 
1842 SIR W.  HAMILTON in Reid's Wks. (1872) II. 756/2 note, Common Sense ( ) 
was employed by Aristotle to denote  the faculty in which the various reports 
of the several senses are reduced to  the unity of a common apperception.

1645 HOWELL Lett. v. (1650) 174 Cabbage,  turnips, artichocks, potatoes, and 
dates, are her five senses, and pepper the  common sense.
The endowment of natural intelligence possessed by rational  beings; 
ordinary, normal or average understanding; the plain wisdom which is  
inheritance. (This is ‘common sense’ at its minimum, without which  one is 
or insane.) Formerly also in pl., in phr. besides his common  senses: out of 
his senses or wits, ‘beside  himself’.  

1535 JOYE  Apol. Tindale  (Arb.) 36, I am suer T[indale] is not so farre 
besydis his comon  sencis as to saye the dead bodye hereth cristis voyce.  1561 
T. NORTON Calvin's Inst. I. 13 Vnlesse he be  voide of all common sense and 
natural wit of man. 1602  T. FITZHERBERT Apol. 20a, I referre me to the  
iudgement of any man that hath but common sence. 1690  

LOCKE Hum. Und. I. iii. §4 He would  be thought void of common sense who 
asked on the one side, or on the other side  went to give a reason, why it is 
impossible for the same thing to be and not to  be. 
That was very good.
1711  ADDISON Spect. No. 70 2 A Reader of plain  common Sense, who would 
neither relish nor comprehend an Epigram of Martial. 1744  HARRIS Three Treat. 
Wks. (1841) 46 note, Common sense..a sense common to all, except lunatics and 
ideots. 1799  MACKINTOSH Study Law Nature Wks. 1846 I. 363 Whoever thoroughly 
understands such a science, must be able to  teach it plainly to all men of 
common sense. 
1875 JOWETT Plato (ed. 2) IV. 404 
Common sense will not teach us metaphysics any more than  mathematics.
That was excellent, and so Anti-peripatetic!  
More emphatically: Good sound practical sense; combined tact and readiness in 
 dealing with the every-day affairs of life; general sagacity.  
-- Or Paul's 'phronesis'  
1726 AMHERST Terræ Fil. xx. 100 There is not  (said a shrewd wag) a more 
uncommon thing in the world than common sense..By  common sense we usually and 
justly understand the faculty to discern one thing  from another, and the 
ordinary ability to keep ourselves from being imposed upon  by gross 
palpable inconsistencies, and unmask'd imposture. By a  man of common sense we 
mean one who knows, as we say, chalk from cheese.  
1775 PRIESTLEY Exam. Reid 127 Common sense..in  common acceptation..has long 
been appropriated..to that capacity for judging of  common things that persons 
of middling capacities are capable of. 1852  TENNYSON Ode Wellington iv, Rich 
in  saving common-sense. 1888  WORMALL in Times 16 Jan. 8/1 The general  
demand was for intelligence, sagacity, soundness of judgment, clearness of  
perception, and that sanity of thinking called common sense.  
Ordinary or untutored [untrained -- Geary] perception.  
1588  SHAKES. L.L.L. I. i. 57 To  know..Things hid and bard from common 
sense..is studies god-like recompence.
As a quality of things said or done (= ‘something accordant  to or approved 
by common sense’).  
This is a Scots thing -- the "Scots Common Sense Philosophers" so-called  
1803  MACKINTOSH Def. Peltier Wks. 1846 III. 270, I ask you again, Gentlemen, 
is this common sense? 1866  G. MACDONALD Ann. Q. Neighb. iii. (1878) 34  To 
him it was just common sense, and common sense only. 1884  G. DENMAN in Law 
Rep. 29 Chanc. Div. 467 It  is only common sense that..you should look at the 
whole of the document  together.
The general sense, feeling, or judgement of mankind, or of a  community. 
1596  SPENSER F.Q. IV. x. 2 That all the  cares and evill which they meet 
May..seeme gainst common sence to them most  sweet. 1663  J. SPENCER Prodigies 
(1665) 390 These are  to be received by the common sense of a Nation, as Gods 
warning pieces. 1695  WOODWARD Nat. Hist. Earth i. (1723) 1 The  common Sense 
mankind. 1713  BERKELEY Hylas & Phil. III. Wks. 1871 I. 329, I am content, 
Hylas, to appeal to the common sense of the world  for the truth of my notion. 
1872 GROTE Aristotle II. App. ii. 285 
What Aristotle..defines as matters of common  opinion and belief includes all 
that is usually meant, and properly meant, by  Common What what is believed 
by all men or by most  men. 
That should lead us to the Greek quotation -- also in  Liddell/Scott online.
1874  SIDGWICK Meth. Ethics III. xi. §6. 333 The  promise which the Common 
Sense of mankind recognises as binding.
4.  Philos. The faculty of primary truths; ‘the complement of those  
cognitions or convictions which we receive from nature; which all men therefore 
possess in common; and by which they test the truth of knowledge, and the  
of actions’ (Hamilton Reid's Wks. II. 756).
Philosophy of Common  Sense: that philosophy  which accepts as the ultimate 
criterion of truth the primary cognitions or  beliefs of mankind; e.g. in the 
theory of perception, the universal  belief in the existence of a material 
world. Applied to the Scotch school which  arose in the 18th c. in opposition 
the views of Berkeley and  Hume.  

1705 BERKELEY Commonpl. Bk. Wks. IV. 455  Mem. To be eternally banishing  
Metaphisics, etc., and recalling men to Common Sense.]  1758  PRICE Rev. Quest. 
Morals (ed. 2) 81  Common sense, the faculty of self-evident truths. 1764  REID 
 (title), An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles  of Common Sense. 
1770  BEATTIE Ess. Truth in Ann. Reg. (1772) 253 Common Sense hath, in modern  
times, been used by philosophers, both French and British, to signify that 
power  of the mind which perceives truth, or commands belief, not by 
 argumentation, but by an instantaneous, instinctive, and irresistible 
impulse;  derived neither from education nor from habit, but from nature. 1776  
CAMPBELL Philos. Rhet. (1801) I.  I. ii. 99  To maintain propositions the 
of the primary truths of  common sense, doth not imply a contradiction, it 
only implies insanity. 1842  SIR W.  HAMILTON in Reid's Wks. II. 742 On the  
Philosophy of Common Sense; or our primary beliefs considered as the ultimate  
criterion of truth. 1871  FRASER in Berkeley's Wks. I. 183 The  universal 
concurrent assent of mankind may be thought by some an invincible  argument in 
of Matter. (Note, Commonly called the argument from  Common Sense.) 1874  
SIDGWICK Meth. Ethics p. xi, Dogmatic  Intuitionism, in which the general rules 
of Common Sense are accepted as  axiomatic.
5.  attrib. (the two words being always hyphened).  
1854  E. FORBES Lit. Papers i. 43 Common-sense  views are the last to take 
hold on men's minds. 1872  MORLEY Voltaire (1886) 93 The air was  thick with 
common-sense objections to Christianity, as it was with common-sense  ideas as 
the way in which we come to have ideas. 1874  SIDGWICK Meth. Ethics I. vi. 
§3. 70 Egoism  and Utilitarianism may fairly be regarded as extremes between 
which the  Common-Sense morality is a kind of media  via.
Hence <NOBR>csensed  a., possessing common sense. <NOBR>csensely  adv., in a 
common sense manner. common-sense-o-dox  a. nonce-wd. on type of orthodox. 
common(-)sensible, -bly,  possessing, or characterized by, common sense. (All 
more or less nonce-words.)  
1875  M. G. PEARSE  Dan. Quorm Ser.  I. (1879) 26 Pithy, plain, 
*common-sensed. 1884  J. PARKER Apost. Life III. 66  Common-sensed and 
real-hearted men.   
 1878  GROSART in H. More's Poems Introd. 36/2  Thus *common-sensely does he 
put the matter.   
 1866  READE G. Gaunt I. 207 He did not think  it..*common-sense-o-dox to 
turn his back upon their dinner.   
 1851  HAWTHORNE Snow Image (1879) 30 This highly  benevolent and 
*common-sensible individual. 1875  HELPS Soc. Press. xxv. 382  Common-sensible 
conclusions. a1907  F. THOMPSON St. Ignatius Loyola (1909) x. 200 High 
eminently common-sensible. 1931  Sat. Rev. 6 June 819/2 The  Archbishop of 
speech is ranked as the best; next to that Lord Newton's,  witty, humorous, 
and commonsensible.   
 1890  Univ. Rev. 15 July 455 He  chattered away..*common~sensibly enough.   


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