Difference Between Common Sense and Intelligence

Key Difference – Common Sense vs Intelligence


 

Common sense and intelligence are two terms that can often be confusing although there is a difference between these two words. Common sense is good sense in practical matters. On the other hand, intelligence is the ability to gain and apply knowledge and skills. As you can see, common sense and intelligence are not identical. The key difference between the two is that while common sense gives more prominence to practical knowledge, intelligence focuses on intellectual capacities of an individual. Through this article let us examine these two concepts in detail.

What is Common Sense?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, common sense is a good sense in practical matters. It is believed that to function in society as a normal human being common sense is of vital significance. Common sense does not entail specialized knowledge.  It merely consists of good sense that helps us to function in the society.  For an example, imagine that you have to make a decision in a limited time frame. Although you may not have any special knowledge, the common sense helps you to arrive at a sound judgment.

Common sense is not something extraordinary. It is the basic skill that we all have to understand and judge based on the information that is available to us. Let us take a very simple example. You are planning on going on a trip to a tropical rain forest. The clothing that you would pack is based on your common sense. Imagine a friend packs high heels, you would most likely laugh at the person for lacking common sense.

However although the term common sense now refers to the everyday knowledge that we have, this term has philosophical roots. It is believed that Aristotle first spoke of common sense in line with human perception. Later on, this was used to refer to the ability of the human being to comprehend other humans as well as the surrounding environment.

Difference Between Common Sense and Intelligence

Aristotle spoke of common sense

What is Intelligence?

Intelligence is the ability to gain and apply knowledge and skills. Intelligence consists of so many processes such as comprehension, problem solving, awareness, memory, knowledge, etc. The concept of intelligence is studied in many disciplines ranging from philosophy to psychology. Intelligence can be considered as a key factor in the academic world as it allows an individual to progress and learn more. For an example, a child who has a higher intelligence is able to progress in his studies more quickly than the average student.

However, intelligence does not necessarily guarantee that the person has common sense as well. This is where the difference between the two concepts emerges. There can be people who have a very high intelligence but lacks common sense.  This is why there is even a saying suggesting that ‘common sense is not so common.’

Key Difference - Common Sense vs Intelligence

What is the difference between Common Sense and Intelligence?

Definitions:

Common sense is good sense in practical matters.

Intelligence is the ability to gain and apply knowledge and skills.

Focus:

Common sense gives more prominence to practical knowledge.

Intelligence focuses on intellectual capacities of an individual.

Specialized Knowledge:

Common sense does not include specialized knowledge.

Intelligence includes specialized knowledge.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Aristotle Altemps Inv8575” by Copy of Lysippus – Jastrow (2006). [Public Domain] via Commons

2. Artificial.intelligence By Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons