Common Sense: Middle Way Between Formalism and Post-Structuralism
Format of Original
Oxford University Press
Cambridge Journal of Economics
John Coates's The Claims of Common Sense argues that common-sense philosophy is central to Cambridge economics and philosophy, and represents a viable middle way between formalism and post-structuralism. This paper concentrates on the opposition between common sense and formalism. The latter is explained in terms of Quine's formal semantics and neoclassical axiomatic choice theory, which share a critique of ordinary language, a commitment to logical determinacy, a functionalist view of mind, and the idea of ontology driven by logic. Coates's common-sense Cambridge alternative is explained in terms of Wittgenstein's and Keyne's views on vagueness.