Is it important for a scientist to use common sense? Is it important to use common sense in order to find the truth?

Or common sense is completely worthless when it comes to determining the truth?

I think that, in order to draw the right conclusions after making observations and experiments, scientists must use common sense. Or am I wrong?

  • Who is making this claim? Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 1:03
  • Someone told me that, on a web forum.
    – Joe Jobs
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 10:26
  • This might be a better fit for philosophy.se?
    – Weaver
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 7:57
  • I think I didn't use the best words. I am was not referring about "truth" in the most abstract meaning, like answers to questions like "is there a God?" or "what's the fabric of the Universe?". I meant "if common sense is important in determining how things work" or "if common sense is important in determining how physical reality works". Common sense tells me for example that, since falling from 2 meters can hurt me, then falling from 5 meters above, it can be even worse. Sorry for not choosing the best words. Shall I open a new question?
    – Joe Jobs
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


I assume this question is different from the other question about the use of common sense in skepticism, because you're asking if the truth can be determined through common sense. Well, a pragmatist might say so, but a stickler would not:

It is indeed a great gift of God, to possess right, or (as they now call it) plain common sense. But this common sense must be shown practically, by well-considered and reasonable thoughts and words, not by appealing to it as an oracle, when no rational justification can be advanced. To appeal to common sense, when insight and science fail, and no sooner -- this is one of the subtle discoveries of modern times, by means of which the most superficial ranter can safely enter the lists with the most thorough thinker, and hold his own. But as long as a particle of insight remains, no one would think of having recourse to this subterfuge. For what is it but an appeal to the opinion of the multitude, of whose applause the philosopher is ashamed, while the popular charlatan glories and confides in it?

Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783)

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