1st Edition

Scientific Challenges to Common Sense Philosophy

Edited By Rik Peels, Jeroen de Ridder, René van Woudenberg Copyright 2020
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    Common sense philosophy holds that widely and deeply held beliefs are justified in the absence of defeaters. While this tradition has always had its philosophical detractors who have defended various forms of skepticism or have sought to develop rival epistemological views, recent advances in several scientific disciplines claim to have debunked the reliability of the faculties that produce our common sense beliefs. At the same time, however, it seems reasonable that we cannot do without common sense beliefs entirely. Arguably, science and the scientific method are built on, and continue to depend on, common sense.

    This collection of essays debates the tenability of common sense in the face of recent challenges from the empirical sciences. It explores to what extent scientific considerations—rather than philosophical considerations—put pressure on common sense philosophy. The book is structured in a way that promotes dialogue between philosophers and scientists. Noah Lemos, one of the most influential contemporary advocates of the common sense tradition, begins with an overview of the nature and scope of common sense beliefs, and examines philosophical objections to common sense and its relationship to scientific beliefs. Then, the volume features essays by scientists and philosophers of science who discuss various proposed conflicts between commonsensical and scientific beliefs: the reality of space and time, about the nature of human beings, about free will and identity, about rationality, about morality, and about religious belief. Notable philosophers who embrace the common sense tradition respond to these essays to explore the connection between common sense philosophy and contemporary debates in evolutionary biology, neuroscience, physics, and psychology.

    1. Introduction: The Paradox of Science and Common Sense

    Rik Peels, Jeroen de Ridder, and René van Woudenberg

    2. Common Sense, Philosophy, and Science

    Noah Lemos

    3. How the Many Worlds Interpretation Brings Common Sense to Paradoxical Quantum Experiments

    Kelvin J. McQueen and Lev Vaidman

    4. Why the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Needs More Than Hilbert Space Structure

    Meir Hemmo and Orly Shenker

    5. Common Sense and Relativistic Supercoincidence

    Yuri Balashov

    6. Coincidence Problems without Properties

    Peter van Inwagen

    7. Conceptual Revisions: Intentions and Free Will in the Light of Cognitive Neuroscience

    Pim Haselager

    8. The Emergence of Free, Intentional Control: Reply to Haselager

    Tim O’Connor

    9. Psychological Challenges to Common Sense Philosophy: Illusions of Introspection and Free Will

    Brett W. Pelham, Michael Harding, and Curtis Hardin

    10. Radically Self-Deceived? Not So Fast

    Fleur Jongepier and Quassim Cassam

    11. Common Sense Morality and Its Evolutionary Underpinnings

    Michael Ruse

    12. Evolution and Moral Common Sense: Why You Can’t Have It Both Ways; A Response to Ruse

    Regina Rini

    13. Dual-Inheritance, Common Sense, and the Justification of Religious Belief

    Taylor Davis

    14. Cultural Evolution and Debunking Arguments: A Response to Davis

    Aku Visala


    Rik Peels is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is the author of Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology (2016), editor of Perspectives on Ignorance from Moral and Social Philosophy (Routledge, 2017), and co-editor of The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance (2016) and Scientism: Problems and Prospects (forthcoming).

    Jeroen de Ridder is Associate Professor of Philosophy and NWO Vidi Research Fellow at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is co-editor of Scientism: Problems and Prospects (forthcoming) and The Future of Creation Order (forthcoming).

    René van Woudenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Reid (2005) and Scientism: Problems and Prospects (forthcoming).