The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The Common Sense Argument is Used Far Too Often

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/5/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 741 times Debate No: 40040
Debate Rounds (3)
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When I say the common sense argument is used too often, I mean the argument is used too often out of context.

Using the term "Common Sense" has transformed from meaning "what almost all people know and understand" to now being somewhat meaningless. The new and now common definition for common sense is used to degrade the opponent in an argument or simply because the person doesn't want to come up with and give a real argument for some reason or another.

This new meaning I hear too often comes through as "This idea is basic and easy for me to understand. Therefore it is common sense." Sometimes the addition of "Why don't you understand the same?" is appended to this thought process.

There are few things that almost all people in society understand and agree on that I would call common sense. Some of those things would be that the sun is bright, babies are smaller than adults, or that one must eat and drink to live. My argument is that real common sense survives almost all cultures, languages, religions, races, genders, and locales around the world. Moving from religion to religion will show completely different knowledge and understanding taken for granted between the two religion groups. Different genders see many things differently, and the geography and practices of one country will be very different from those of another country. Thus, commonalities are narrowed with each group of people.

With such a diverse set of people across the world, there cannot be very much shared in the commonality of knowledge and understanding. Only basic human needs, some desires, and some repeated physical observations can be classified as common understanding or common sense. Every person around the world is of the same species, so there are some commonalities. However, common sense should be classified for the broadest spectrum of people so we can have better arguments and better awareness. Doing away with the common sense argument when out of context will bring more knowledge to the general population since arguments would be expounded more often, and the world would have an increased "actual" common sense.


Merriam Webster: Common Sense (noun)- sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.

Common Sense should be defined by what you have learned in school (Pre-School through 12th Grade) since everyone has (or is suppose to have) gone to school. Most people think "common sense" is a matter of opinion, it is not. Common Sense is a matter of basic facts that anyone who has gone to school would know. For example; 2+2=4, that is common sense because everyone who has gone through school would know that. Something like; lim(3sec x W22; 3tanx) is not common sense because not everyone has taken calculus.

In conclusion "common sense" is anything you were expected and required to learn in School.
Debate Round No. 1


Con is correct in that a definition of common sense must be decided. I also agree that common sense is clearly not simply one's opinion. I take Webster's definition to be a good definition, but I like the Cambridge Dictionary definition better: "The basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way."

The book "Common Sense: The Foundations for Social Science" (p.9) defines common sense as consisting of "knowledge, judgement, and taste which is more or less universal and which is held more or less without reflection or argument."

I disagree with con's definition of common sense as what somebody should have learned from kindergarten through secondary education. If con's DDO profile is correct, there is a very high probability that he has not graduated from high school, and he would therefore not meet his own requirement for having common sense.

Wikipedia authors agree with my argument that the definition of common sense has changed recently: "in modern times the term 'common sense' has frequently been used for rhetorical effect, sometimes pejorative, and sometimes appealed to positively, as an authority. It can be negatively equated to vulgar prejudice and superstition, or on the contrary it is often positively contrasted to them as a standard for good taste and as the source of the most basic axioms needed for science and logic."

According to the modern definition of "common sense", the term has been watered down and can mean several things without much room for context. When the common sense argument is used using an argument or debate, the real meaning cannot be immediately known. It could be a literary effect, it could be a negative, or it could be positive. The opponent has to guess the correct meaning or ask for clarification. During a debate, clear and concise arguments should be made without being ambiguous.

I hold that the common sense argument should be used much less frequently with the modern definition. When using the common sense argument, it should be used very carefully and with the more historical meaning " that of having a very basic understanding of something that is nearly universally known.


BEaPATRIOT forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


As Con has not brought any additional arguments to light, there is nothing to rebut.

The common sense argument is used too often in everyday conversation. Even though Con forfeited the last round, you might say it's common sense to vote Pro, but I would disagree that you should use the common sense argument in that context.

Either way, vote Pro.


BEaPATRIOT forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit