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quotations about common sense

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.


No race of kings has ever presented above one man of common sense in twenty generations.

THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Benjamin Hawkins, Aug. 4, 1787

Common sense is not so common.

VOLTAIRE, Dictionnaire Philosophique

Common-sense is part of the home-made ideology of those who have been deprived of fundamental learning, of those who have been kept ignorant.

JOHN BERGER, A Fortunate Man

Common sense is judgment without reflection, shared by an entire class, an entire nation, or the entire human race.


Common sense is so just an understanding that it rises almost to a virtue; in truth, it involves virtues and their participation in judgment. For sound sense implies all powers uniting; none too prominent, so as to tyrannize; none too small, so as to be overborne.


Common sense always speaks too late. Common sense is the guy who tells you you ought to have had your brakes relined last week before you smashed a front end this week. Common sense is the Monday morning quarterback who could have won the ball game if he had been on the team. But he never is. He's high up in the stands with a flask on his hip. Common sense is the little man in a gray suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it's always somebody's else's money he's adding up.


Common sense is the best distributed thing in the world, for we all think we possess a good share of it.

RENÉ DESCARTES, Discours de la Méthode

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, as quoted in Jerry Mayer's Bite-Size Einstein

If common sense were as unerring as calculus, as some suggest, I don't understand why so many mistakes are made so often by so many people.

CARY WINKEL, as quoted in Explaining One's Self to Others: Reason-Giving in a Social Context

Common-sense appears to be only another name for the thoughtlessness of the unthinking. It is made of the prejudices of childhood, the idiosyncrasies of individual character and the opinion of the newspapers.

W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, A Writer's Notebook

When common sense sees a puzzling phenomenon it looks for a causal agent. When it sees organization it looks for an organizer. This works amazingly well for purposes ranging from the diagnosis of diseases to the creation of governments. But it cannot account for emergence ... the appearance of complex phenomena not predictable from the basic elements and processes alone.

CARL BEREITER, Education and Mind in the Knowledge Age

Common sense is better than genius, and hence its bestowment is more universal.


The best prophet is common sense.

EURIPIDES, as quoted in Explaining One's Self to Others: Reason-Giving in a Social Context

Common sense is the foundation of all authorities, of the laws themselves, and of their construction.

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Batture Case, 1812

If a man can have only one kind of sense, let him have common sense. If he has that and uncommon sense, too, he is not far from genius.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to apply it.


The greatness of common sense, and its title to reverence, appear in this, that it deals with vast complexity, that is, with the innumerable elements of a situation. Common sense discerns and judges a path through this knotted and tangled maze.


Whenever a man boasts much about [his common sense], you may be pretty sure that he has very little sense, either common or uncommon.


The restraining grace of common sense is the mark of all valid minds.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Letters and Social Aims

Common sense (which, in truth, is very uncommon) is the best sense I know of: abide by it; it will counsel you best.

PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, The Elements of a Polite Education

Common sense will nearly always stand you in better stead than a slavish adherence to the conventions.

M. M. KAYE, Shadow of the Moon

The mind is very persuasive and it helps us make the best and worst decisions based on individual circumstances. Common sense is the counter-balance.

KEITH AMBERSLEY, 911-Common Sense Money

Common sense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life.


Common Sense--that genius of mankind, which, when properly directed is the one attribute that will carry man and his kind successfully through the perplexities of life.

YORITOMO TASHI, Common Sense: How to Exercise It

The essence of common sense is to stay in close contact with life as it is lived.

SCOTT P. SEGREST, America and the Political Philosophy of Common Sense

Common sense is the folklore of philosophy.

ANTONIO GRAMSCI, Prison Notebooks

Common sense tells us that the world is flat, that the sun goes around the earth, that heavy bodies always fall faster than light bodies, that boats made of iron will sink.

STUART CHASE, The Proper Study of Mankind

Misprize common sense at your peril is my motto.

KINGSLEY AMIS, Stanley and the Women

The light of common sense is fundamentally the same light as that of science, that is to say, the natural light of the intellect. But in common sense this light does not return upon itself by critical reflection, and is not perfected by what we shall learn to know as a scientific habit.

JACQUES MARITAIN, An EPZ Introduction to Philosophy

We know that the war against intelligence is always waged in the name of common sense.


Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius.

AN WANG, Lessons: An Autobiography

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.


Common sense is judgment without reflection, shared by an entire class, an entire nation, or the entire human race.


Browse Common Sense Quotes II

Browse Common Sense Quotes III

Read James Vila Blake's essay: Of Common Sense

Read Walter Matthews' essay on Common Sense


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