September 09, 2005

Stating the Obvious About Common Sense II

Proposition: When what's interesting, useful and challenging about a given claim lies in its engagement with complex, nuanced social relations without betraying that complexity, those interested in attacking the claim will often do so not by refuting it, but by restating it as if it were a simple claim, which in that format turns out to be insufficient, dogmatic, and/or absurd on the face of it to fail the test of "common sense."

Pragmatic Example: conventional critiques of Barthes' idea of "the Death of the Author."

Sub-Proposition: "Common sense," which purports to general applicability, actually requires the simplification of its object before it can be applied.

Corollary: "Common sense" is not logic, which can deal with problems of any degree of complexity, as long as they are logical problems.

Sub-sub-proposition: "Common sense" does not deal with complex problems. At best, it is an expression of a desire for a world without complex problems.

Posted by jane at September 9, 2005 01:37 PM | TrackBack