TA100 (Smith)


Commentary 4


by Herbert FJ Müller
29 December 2007, posted 5 January 2008


RW Smith’s work on common sense is of great potential interest, I would think.  As he shows, there is a similar notion in all languages.  However, much depends on the solidity of this concept. 


What did not become clear to me how a diagnosis of disorder of common sense is to be made in practice.  RWS mentions questions relating to this point in several places, such as TA100 [54] and [65].  He comes back to the question of using tests of mathematics and reading abilities in R1 [6], but I was not able to understand what his proposal for a diagnostic procedure would be; and this would be a pre-requisite for inclusion in ICD or DSM.  And also, how reliable is such an ‘axis II diagnosis’ ?


Aside from psychiatric classification, RWS emphasizes the practical importance of common sense, for instance in politics.  Would he suggest that candidates for political office should be pre-screened for common sense, as opposed to the lack of it (as in fanaticism, or more generally, a tendency to hold and promote pre-conceived assumptions in an uncritical manner) ? 




Herbert FJ Müller
     e-mail <herbert.muller (at) mcgill.ca>