Common Sense, Myth, Ideology, and Socialism: A Short Critical Study

Eugene Flanagan


In this short study, I describe how the ‘public philosophy’ of common sense, ostensibly self-evident and economically/politically disinterested practical knowledge, has, on the contrary, functioned mythically and ideologically over the years across four continents. In Europe and the US, from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, through the decolonisation processes of the twentieth century in Africa and Asia, in the Americas, and through the onset of neo-liberalism in the final quarter of the twentieth century, to the contemporary period, I show how appeals to common sense have served to warrant bourgeois material interests, and the systematic silencing of contrary and socialist voices.

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