ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Topic 183

Storage requirements for common-sense knowledge by Joseph

All of us have the knowledge we learn at school and people, facts from statistics, textbooks, and the media. But there also is a type of knowledge that requires little factual knowledge, common-sense. This kind of knowledge is the knowledge that can be used without any knowledge on a topic and are what our instincts tell us, things that are obvious. For example, it is common-sense that Macintosh computers are a lot better than Windows, in all views.

How do we store common-sense? You cannot just begin to read a textbook and gain a lot of common-sense. Common-sense requires experience, and our memory stores it from pain, embarrassment, and failure. You cannot exactly have much common-sense without factual knowledge though. Even if you remember the pain from the fire you touched, without knowing what fire is, you can just believe the hotness to be a rare case and touch it again. It goes the other way too, by having factual knowledge, you can gain more common-sense knowledge. Even without experiencing the heat of a fire, from science textbooks, you can learn that fire can burn you and it is very hot.

Everyone has different levels of common-sense. The person realizes that fire is hot and does not touch it again is considered more common-sensible than the person who touches it five times before realizing it. Also the person who remembers the heat experience for a longer period of time has more common-sense than the person who forgets the next day.


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