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  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #1

    'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if I could the exact difference, if any, among the concepts above. I've almost got no difference between 'instinct' and 'common sense'. Thanks.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi there,
    I was wondering if I could the exact difference, if any, among the concepts above. I've almost got no difference between 'instinct' and 'common sense'. Thanks.
    There's little difference between "instinct" and "intuition" in most contexts, but neither of them are similar to "common sense".

    "Instinct/intuition" are, for example, when you just know someone is watching you, even though you can't see them. It could be that unsettling feeling you get sometimes when your partner is late home from work and, instead of just thinking that they are late because of bad traffic, you're convinced they have been in a car accident (of course, most of the time, it turns out that you were wrong, but you still had that feeling). Baby animals feed from their mothers by instinct - they have not been taught that they should find a teat and suckle on it, yet they know to do this almost the instant they are born.


    "Common sense" is knowing not to stick your fingers in a plug socket because you will be electrocuted. If you had never seen a plug socket before, you wouldn't know by intuition that it was dangerous to stick your fingers in it. Those of us who know that it's dangerous, know because we were probably told when we were very young. It's common sense to look both left and right before crossing the road as a pedestrian - it's just something that it is sensible to do.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Thank you so much for the detailed answer.

    Does the word 'nous' mean the same as 'common sense'? Is it a common word?

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    The only meaning I have for "nous" is from French class. I have never seen this word in English.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    We use it quite a lot in BrE, yes, and it pretty much means the same thing. It's pronounced to rhyme with "mouse" but spelt without the "e".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    We use it quite a lot in BrE, yes, and it pretty much means the same thing. It's pronounced to rhyme with "mouse" but spelt without the "e".
    I have literally never heard this. Do you know anything about it's origin? Is it informal? (I like adding to my BrE vocabulary.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I have literally never heard this. Do you know anything about it's origin? Is it informal? (I like adding to my BrE vocabulary.)
    I honestly knew nothing about where it was from so good old Wikipedia has come to the rescue again. The last line of the second main paragraph shows its usage as "common sense".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. probus's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    To return to the original question:

    To me, instinct refers to behaviour that has been built into all organisms by evolution. Instinct causes us to feed, avoid pain, seek pleasure and so forth.

    Intuition is the faculty we have of guessing accurately without resort to detailed reasoning. Give us a clue or two, and suddenly we are pretty sure of something.

    Common sense, on the other hand, means conventional wisdom. Perhaps it originally meant common knowledge, but nowadays it has been so charged politically that it means the quality that those who agree with us share and those who disagree lack.
    Last edited by probus; 22-Feb-2013 at 04:57.

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    #9

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I have literally never heard this. Do you know anything about it's origin? Is it informal? (I like adding to my BrE vocabulary.)
    I am equally astonished. Just when you think you have heard all of the BrE differences, something comes out of the blue. I would have also figured someone was using the French for "we," if I had to guess.

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    #10

    Re: 'Common sense', 'Instinct', and 'Intuition'?

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    To return to the original question:

    To me, instinct refers to behaviour that has been built into all organisms by evolution. Instinct causes us to feed, avoid pain, seek pleasure and so forth.

    Intuition is the faculty we have of guessing accurately without resort to detailed reasoning. Give us a clue or two, and suddenly we are pretty sure of something.

    Common sense, on the other hand, means conventional wisdom. Perhaps it originally meant common knowledge, but nowadays it has been so charged politically that it means the quality that those who agree with us share and those who disagree lack.
    An important distinction, which you were making is that "common sense" is largely learned, while "instinct" is not.

    "Intuition" to me means things that you know or feel without a cognitive or intellectual explanation. They say women's intuition lets them know when their men are cheating or lying. The example given above about feeling someone watching you is another good example. I have personally felt "intuition" when driving my car and have had a feeling to slow down only moments before coming around a corner and seeing deer on the road. You can't explain it intellectually.

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