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Archaeology of a Modern Vision of Common Sense
The effective analyses produced by the natural sciences set out from the idea that common sense is the best distributed thing in the world, whereas the reasons that inspire behaviour and beliefs depend on contextual parameters. But empiricism (more precisely, a corollary improperly taken from a theorem of Hume’s) and positivism (more precisely, two dominant ideas of Comte’s) have induced ideas that pass off as evidence of a fracture between being and having to be: about what science is and what it ought to be. Due to its exemplary and perverse effect, nothing has pushed human sciences further away from their objective – that of becoming true sciences – than the idea that they should naturalize their subject-matter to this purpose. The importance of this naturalist program is measured by the fact that some epistemologists have no hesitation in declaring that two fundamental types of explanation exist for behaviour: the explanation ‘by norms’ and the explanation ‘by reasons’. This bizarre denomination seems to presuppose that there can be no reasons to accept a norm. Extravagant though it is, it highlights the fact that social sciences are effectively torn between a naturalist programme and a rationalist one. There can be no doubt that it is necessary to return to the second; that is to say to the programme favoured by classical theorists.