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Study Challenges Universality of 'Common Sense', Offers New Perspectives

A recent study challenges the notion of universal common sense, revealing significant variations in individual and collective understanding. The findings could advance research in social science and AI.

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María Alejandra Trujillo
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Study Challenges Universality of 'Common Sense', Offers New Perspectives

In a groundbreaking study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have challenged the long-held belief in universal common sense. The research, spearheaded by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, aimed to quantify common sense at both individual and collective levels.

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Understanding Common Sense - An Empirical Study

The study, which involved a case study of 4,407 claims that are generally considered to be common sense, rated by over 2,000 participants for their common-sensicality. These claims included a diverse range, from philosophical ideas to factual assertions about the world. Findings revealed a significant variation in what people regard as common sense. On a collective level, scant claims were viewed as being universally true.

Common Sense - More Than Just a Self-Evident Truth

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The research brings to light that common sense aligns more with uncomplicated, factual claims about physical reality and is less variable across different types of people. It successfully addressed the circularity present in traditional definitions of common sense, which equate it with self-evident truth without explaining the nature of this self-evidence.

Implications for Social Science and Artificial Intelligence

By doing so, the study offered insights into the attributes that make claims or individuals seem more or less common-sensical and the extent to which common sense is shared across populations. The authors believe that their framework can be a powerful tool in advancing the understanding of common sense in social science and artificial intelligence research.

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