Philosophy, Common Sense, and Science

  • Marcelo Dascal
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 172)


Traditionally, philosophy begins when Thales begins to open his eyes — thus anticipating Pescartesadvice—in order to try to see things bevond their appearance. Apparently, there is little or nothing in common to all the innumerable individual things in the world, which seem to differ radically from each other. Nevertheless, Thales claims that, ultimately, they must have—all of them—a shared foundation which has to be found. Though the solution he himself proposed did not gain wide and lasting support, his question, once asked, could not be set aside any more. His followers replaced water by the apeiron, by the pneuma, by the nous, and later on, by the atoms. But they remained faithful to the basic presupposition of the search initiated by Thales. The primordial innocence—accepting things just as they appear to us—is thus forever lost. When Protagoras defends the thesis that in fact things are what they look like, i.e. that behind multiplicity there is no unity whatsoever, he cannot do so without contrastively stressing the expression ‘in fact.’


Common Sense Ordinary Language Philosophical Theory Deontic Logic Idealist Philosopher 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984

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  • Marcelo Dascal

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