Descartes: Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world: because everyone thinks he is so well endowed, that even those who are hardest to satisfy in everything else, have no habit of desiring more than they have. What it is unlikely that all are wrong, but this shows that the power of judging well and distinguishing truth from falsehood, which is properly what is called common sense or reason, is naturally equal in all men, and as well as the diversity of our opinions does not come from what some are more reasonable than others, but only that we conduct our thoughts in various ways, and do not see the same things . For it is not enough to have a good mind, but the key is to apply it well. The greatest souls are capable of the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues, and those who do not work very slowly may move much more, they always follow the right path, as do those who run, and away from it“Thus opens the DescartesDiscourse on Method.
This text often gives rise to several analysis :
– Humanism:  Descartes the philosopher asserts that common sense is to say the reason is universal. There can be more or less reason for individuals. If some are missing the truth, because the use of their reason is bad. This poses a gender equality based on the existence of an equal right of men. This principle, fundamental break with the scholastic and build all theories of democracy.The second consequence is at the epistemological level: if the result is universal, the method proposed by Descartes can be implemented by all without exception. The truth is accessible to all, provided rightly conducting the reason.

– The conception of subjectivity: if the result is universal, that is, hollow, it makes a man what it is: the man is reason and without reason, there is no man.
– A moral theory: Descartes slips of epistemology to morality, since it introduces the concepts of “vices” and “virtues”.
– In praise of slowness: Descartes emphasizes the method. The slowness seems to be the key to good thinking, while the speed, seen as precipitation, leading to the error according to Descartes.
– The irony: the first sentence contains an irony to the men who are happy with themselves, who are satisfied with their reason never to question or to challenge. It is precisely this questioning of the reason that Descartes will lead in all his work.The incipit of the Discourse on Method is a very accessible text and reveals the philosophical project of Descartes: create a method by which the mind can find the truth.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Descartes: Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, April 7, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 7, 2012,

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