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Sample text

There is no reason to assume that philosophical reflection will not reveal that even apparently paradigmatic instances of a concept’s application may be infelicitous. 6 But eventually, after much to-ing and fro-ing, the general consensus appears to have emerged that the so-called philosophers of common sense and Ordinary Language 36 The Rediscovery of Common Sense Philosophy were unable to give a good reason to assume that our pre-theoretical use of language is entirely in order. 7 But the tide may be turning.

In the first camp, one finds the compatibilists in the free-will debate, while John Searle’s biological naturalism serves as a good example of a philosopher claiming that the alleged tensions between the apparent properties of mental states and a commitment to physicalism are merely apparent. In the second camp, one can point to the determinists and libertarians in the free-will debate, while the eliminativists in the philosophy of mind provide a particularly vivid example of this turn of mind.

So when Descartes writes of his desire to “reform the body of the sciences”, and that to this end he had resolved to “sweep away” all the opinions he had hitherto embraced and to accept only those that had successfully undergone the “scrutiny of reason”;17 and when Kant wrote that “Everything which bears any manner of resemblance to an hypothesis is to be treated as contraband” and “not to be put up for sale even at the lowest price, but forthwith confiscated immediately upon detection”,18 the common sense philosopher has two objections.

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