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Difference between Common Sense and Science

Difference between Common Sense and Science

Difference between Common Sense and Science

Definition of the terms:    

Science and Common sense are two different things in that these have different basis of reasoning and standards to argue about things and events. Although the origin of both science and common sense is the same, their ways of inferring results is different. In order to make clear the difference between science and the common sense, it is better to define precisely.

Science may be defined as the systematic knowledge of things which can be proved through observation and experimentation. On the other hand, commons sense is our knowledge based on our beliefs, ideas, norms and customs. A scientific knowledge requires that there should be concrete evidence and proof behind every happening that could be testified and proved based on facts, like why apple falls on ground, why water flows towards lower ends, and why earth revolves around the sun. On the other hand, our common sense is based on norms, beliefs and common experiences. All of us might well have theories about why movie stars and rock stars receive so much attention and adulation. Our theories and suggestions come from our experiences and from a cherished source of wisdom – common sense.

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In our daily lives, we rely on common sense to get us through many unfamiliar situations. However, this commonsense knowledge, while sometimes accurate, is not always reliable, because it rests on commonly held beliefs rather than on systematic analysis of facts. Here are some examples of the use of common sense. It was once considered “common sense” to accept that the earth was flat- a view rightly questioned by Pythagoras and Aristotle. In the Unites States, “common sense” tells us that when a racial minority group moves into a previously all-White neighborhood, property values decline. “Common sense” tells us that people panic when faced with natural disasters, such as floods and earthquake.

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Thus, the difference between science and the common sense is that while science tries to interpret events on factual grounds with systematic analysis, common sense presents events as what we believe to be or, so to say, how we like to see things happen. However, it does not means that common sense has nothing to do with interpreting true essence of life or it has no significance to see the reality of life. On the other hand, it needs to be emphasized that science is a human creation, not something handed down from on high. The scientific methods also sometime fall of prey to the bias of investigators. Some investigators fudge evidence, and the disputes over origination of ideas and primacy of discovery are well known. Indeed, this is one of the reasons that, over time, the norms of science have developed. These norms differ somewhat in emphasis depending on the discipline, but generally are geared to skeptical open-mindedness, impersonal criteria of evaluation, and public communication of results (Merton, 1973; Zuckerman, 1988).

The advantage of science is that it does, after all, represent our best and most refined efforts to achieve knowledge of the world’s ways. However, the long and short of science is that we do not need to trouble it about confirming our commonly held various individual truths of common sense – they are much too trivial for that; one does not need to steamroller to crack a nut (Rescher, 2007).


             From the above, it may be concluded that science is a systematic knowledge of things based on evidence, proof and reality while common sense is based on our personal beliefs, society norms and cultural learning which form our common sense in particular way.