"It's not a spectator sport!"


The Time Line of Rational Commonsense is a partial sketch of some noteworthy landmarks in the development of Rational Commonsense in Western Civilization. A more extensive time line including more civilizations is another project for another day.


Note: An asterisk after a term indicates the term is being used as defined in the attached glossary. Capitalized terms also emphasize terms are being  used in accord with glossary definitions. [See Glossary]

Rational Commonsense Defined

Rational Commonsense is the use of sound rational thinking in personal conduct, practical matters and important business. It is the sound use of reason in our own lives here and now. Commonsense rationality is the workaday reasoning we use to solve personal problems, to converse constructively with one another and to build a mutually beneficial political community.


Limits and Possibilities: Rational Commonsense begins and ends with a fulsome appreciation of the limitations of our personal knowledge. At the same time, Rational Commonsense eagerly appreciates the potential of developing our personal rational abilities. Although absolute certainty* in our personal thought systems eludes our grasp, our ability to expand and grow and learn is awesome. The limitation inherent in our reasoning abilities does not mean that these abilities are useless. To the contrary, improving our rational skills is always beneficial. It is because our knowledge is limited that sound reasoning is so important.


Truth as Truth or Impartial Truth. Truth as Truth or Truth with a capital T is an intellectually reliable and universal aspect of reality that we humans can discern in a limited but useful manner. Initially we know Truth proposition by proposition. From our experience with propositional truth we abstract the concept of Truth. In our mind, we can consider and meditate on this concept. We cannot imagine the concept of truth but we can understand it, contemplate it, discuss it and use it to improve our lives. In our meditating on Truth and our discussions about Truth, we use propositions. It behooves us to insure, as best we can, that these propositions we are as true as we can manage. The Truth of propositions is known as 'Propositional Truth. Truth with capital T is also referred to as Impartial Truth because it belongs equally to all people. The word 'truth' also has other definitions that are subjective and refer to doctrines and dogmas of a group. There are many ways of defining 'truth' in a subjective manner. Rational Commonsense assumes the impartial understanding of Truth as a given above. That is why it is common. Impartial Truth is not the exclusive property of any group. People in their Commonsense mode of thinking know this in their subliminal intuitions.


Degrees: The exercise of Rational Commonsense comes in degrees. Everyone who can function in society has some Rational Commonsense. Well-developed Rational Commonsense is a common commodity in successful societies. On the other hand, polished and elegant Rational Commonsense is a rare accomplishment. The objective of this manual is to help readers polish their personal rational skills to a lovely glow. 


Levels of Awareness: Rational Commonsense operates in various levels of awareness from Intuitional to Liminal to Attentive to Critical. Intuitional Commonsense is the sound reasoning we do in subliminal levels of consciousness. Liminal Commonsense it the sound reasoning we do in our busy thinking and workaday business that is not spoken out loud or written down. We are consciously aware of liminal reasoning but we do not actually put it deliberately into articulated words. Attentive Commonsense occurs when we thoughtfully pay attention to aspects of Rational Commonsense either thinking to ourselves, speaking out loud to others or writing thoughts in such a manner that they can be preserved for a period of time. Critical Commonsense is Self-Conscious Rational Commonsense with a higher degree of deliberation. Writing is more exacting than thinking to oneself or speaking. Writing about Rational Commonsense is usually more self-conscious and deliberate than mulling or speaking about it. Writing requires more care and deliberation. I use the term 'Critical Rational Commonsense' for thoughtful deliberation in organized speaking and orderly writing. 


Rational Improvement: Rational Commonsense is a common talent we all share. Each of us already has some and each of us has the potential to make improvements. . It is possible for people to make enormous improvement in their personal rational skills by developing sound knowledge and avoiding fallacies. Anyone can do it, It is a matter of choice.  


Basic Logic: When we articulate aspects of Rational Commonsense, we are in the subject of basic logic. This is what basic logic is. Do not be afraid. Basic Logic will not hurt anyone. you. It is the lack of basic logic that is dangerous.


Personal Note: This manual on Rational Commonsense is in the critical mode of communication. It is written with an effort to be accurate and honest to the best of our ability. I say adequate because we do not claim to be absolute or final or without error. It is based on years of thoughtful research but that does not make it absolute or final or without error. This of course is the attitude of most writers. I mention it for emphasis.  

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