Common Sense Society Budapest

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Official logo of Common Sense Society Budapest

The Common Sense Society was founded in April 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. Its members are university students and young professionals residing in Hungary who regularly meet to debate matters of politics, philosophy, culture and other current affairs in an engaging and fair environment.

The Society provides a regular forum for intellectual interaction by hosting debates, lectures, panel discussion, reading groups, and film screenings. The Society also promotes entrepreneurship among young professionals and hosts frequent discussions with ambassadors, renowned diplomats and political leaders.

The goal of the Common Sense Society, as stated in their constitution, is the “Cultivation of Eloquence and Civility in addition to promoting Deliberative Discourse, Civic Leadership and the ideals of Responsible Liberty.” The founding members of CSS stated their believe that the privileges enjoyed by the Society today are the result of a path dependent process where civilization may gain wisdom from past mistakes and has the opportunity to build on history’s successes. Hence, progress does not imply the abolishment of traditional perceptions.

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Common Sense Society's opening event: The Future of Transatlantic Relations - a debate

For the Society, "common sense" has a much fuller meaning than is typically attributed to the English term. The Greek word έμπειρία connoted that which could be understood through experiencing life. The Romans applied the expression "sensus communis" to highlight the importance of sensible and humane behavior. The Christian tradition introduces a theological equivalent of "general" or "natural revelation", which rest on the existence of morality and God to be self-evident in the material world.

The most widely known use of common sense stems from 1776 when Thomas Paine, a British-born political theorist, published a pamphlet titled “Common Sense Addressed to the Inhabitants of America”, which served as a leading theoretical argument for American independence from Great Britain. Paine was convinced that political ideals and practice must be joined. As Paine put it, "the cause of America is, in great measure, the cause of all mankind".

The members of the Common Sense Society emphasize that modern political discourse and policy-making can be better understood with active engagement with political theory, philosophy and history.

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