L’idée d’un sens commun

Vincent Descombes

Philosophia Scientiae (2002)

  • Volume: 6, Issue: 2, page 147-161
  • ISSN: 1281-2463


This article, which emphasizes the hermeneutic origin of the principle of charity, attempts to resituate the contemporary theories within a tradition of reflection about the anthropological problem (how can we claim to reach an understanding of other types of human lives?). These doctrines actually propose a philosophy of common sense, in other words a solution to the problem of exercising rationality. Due to a failure to relate this common sense to any particular form of social life, these doctrines lack anthropological relevance. The radical linguistics of Quine, just like that of Davidson, is ultimately indifferent to anthropological diversity and deals only with intersubjective understanding. But the job of a researcher doing field work is not to make Ego communicate with Alter Ego in an undetermined milieu; rather it consists in comparing and contrasting two forms of life and ultimately two kinds of common sense: the common sense of the group under study and our own. A common sense philosophy inspired by Vico and Wittgenstein is, thus, to be preferred to that of Quine/Davidson; in the former, common sense is not a postulate of the observer, but a condition of the thing observed itself.

How to cite


Descombes, Vincent. "L’idée d’un sens commun." Philosophia Scientiae 6.2 (2002): 147-161. <http://eudml.org/doc/103673>.

author = {Descombes, Vincent},
journal = {Philosophia Scientiae},
language = {fre},
number = {2},
pages = {147-161},
publisher = {Éditions Kimé},
title = {L’idée d’un sens commun},
url = {http://eudml.org/doc/103673},
volume = {6},
year = {2002},

AU - Descombes, Vincent
TI - L’idée d’un sens commun
JO - Philosophia Scientiae
PY - 2002
PB - Éditions Kimé
VL - 6
IS - 2
SP - 147
EP - 161
LA - fre
UR - http://eudml.org/doc/103673
ER -


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  3. [3] Davidson, Donald1984.— Inquiries into truth and interpretation, tr. fr. Pascal Engel, Enquêtes sur la vérité et l’interprétation, Nîmes : Éditions Jacqueline Chambon, 1993. 
  4. [4] Pompa, Léon1990.— Vico : Study of the “New Science”, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2e éd. 
  5. [5] Vico, Giambattista1953.— Principes d’une science nouvelle relative à la nature commune des nations, tr. Doubine, Paris : Nagel. 
  6. [6] Wittgenstein, Ludwig1953.— Recherches philosophiques = Philosophische Untersuchungen, éd. G.E.M Anscombe sous le titre Philosophical Investigations, Oxford : Blackwell. MR1971335

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