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In
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, rationalism is the
epistemological Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact ...

epistemological
view that "regards
reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification".Lacey, A.R. (1996), ''A Dictionary of Philosophy'', 1st edition, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976. 2nd edition, 1986. 3rd edition, Routledge, London, UK, 1996. p. 286 More formally, rationalism is defined as a
methodology Methodology is the study of research methods, or, more formally, "'a contextual framework' for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choices researchers
r other users R, or r, is the eighteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet The ISO basic Latin alphabet is a Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that ...
make". It compris ...
or a
theory A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, G ...

theory
"in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and
deductive Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process of reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making ...
".Bourke, Vernon J., "Rationalism," p. 263 in Runes (1962). In an old controversy, rationalism was opposed to
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
, where the rationalists believed that reality has an intrinsically logical structure. Because of this, the rationalists argued that certain truths exist and that the intellect can directly grasp these truths. That is to say, rationalists asserted that certain rational principles exist in
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
,
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
,
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ethics, al ...

ethics
, and
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction. The rationalists had such a high confidence in reason that empirical proof and physical evidence were regarded as unnecessary to ascertain certain truths – in other words, "there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience".Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Rationalism vs. Empiricism
First published August 19, 2004; substantive revision March 31, 2013 cited on May 20, 2013.
Different degrees of emphasis on this method or theory lead to a range of rationalist standpoints, from the moderate position "that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge" to the more extreme position that reason is "the unique path to knowledge".Audi, Robert, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1995. 2nd edition, 1999, p. 771. Given a pre-modern understanding of reason, rationalism is identical to
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, the
Socratic
Socratic
life of inquiry, or the zetetic (
skeptical Skepticism (American English, American and Canadian English) or scepticism (British English, British, Hiberno-English, Irish, Australian English, Australian, and New Zealand English) is generally a questioning attitude or doubt towards one or m ...

skeptical
) clear interpretation of authority (open to the underlying or essential cause of things as they appear to our sense of certainty). In recent decades,
Leo Strauss Leo Strauss (; ; September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Born in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 25 ...
sought to revive "Classical Political Rationalism" as a discipline that understands the task of reasoning, not as foundational, but as maieutic. In the 17th-century Dutch Republic, the rise of early modern rationalism – as a highly systematic school of philosophy in its own right for the first time in history – exerted an immense and profound influence on modern Western thought in general, with the birth of two influential rationalistic philosophical systems of
Descartes
Descartes
(who spent most of his adult life and wrote all his major work in the
United Provinces of the Netherlands The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history ...
) and
Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Port ...
–namely
Cartesianism The Cartesian Method is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone ...
and
Spinozism Spinozism (also spelled Spinozaism) is the monist Monism attributes oneness or singleness (Greek: μόνος) to a concept e.g., existence. Various kinds of monism can be distinguished: * ''Priority monism'' states that all existing thing ...
. 17th-century arch-rationalists such as Descartes, Spinoza and
Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat. He is a promin ...

Leibniz
gave the " Age of Reason" its name and place in history.


Background

Rationalism — as an appeal to human reason as a way of obtaining knowledge — has a philosophical history dating from antiquity. The analytical nature of much of philosophical enquiry, the awareness of apparently
a priori ''A priori'' and ''a posteriori'' ('from the earlier' and 'from the later', respectively) are Latin phrases used in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaph ...
domains of knowledge such as mathematics, combined with the emphasis of obtaining knowledge through the use of rational faculties (commonly rejecting, for example, direct
revelation In religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involunt ...

revelation
) have made rationalist themes very prevalent in the history of philosophy. Since the Enlightenment, rationalism is usually associated with the introduction of mathematical methods into philosophy as seen in the works of
Descartes
Descartes
,
Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat. He is a promin ...

Leibniz
, and
Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Port ...

Spinoza
. This is commonly called continental rationalism, because it was predominant in the continental schools of Europe, whereas in Britain
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
dominated. Even then, the distinction between rationalists and empiricists was drawn at a later period and would not have been recognized by the philosophers involved. Also, the distinction between the two philosophies is not as clear-cut as is sometimes suggested; for example, Descartes and Locke have similar views about the nature of human ideas. Proponents of some varieties of rationalism argue that, starting with foundational basic principles, like the axioms of
geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mat ...

geometry
, one could deductively derive the rest of all possible knowledge. Notable philosophers who held this view most clearly were
Baruch Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Por ...

Baruch Spinoza
and
Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat. He is a promin ...
, whose attempts to grapple with the epistemological and metaphysical problems raised by Descartes led to a development of the fundamental approach of rationalism. Both Spinoza and Leibniz asserted that, ''in principle'', all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, could be gained through the use of reason alone, though they both observed that this was not possible ''in practice'' for human beings except in specific areas such as
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
. On the other hand, Leibniz admitted in his book ''
Monadology The ''Monadology'' (french: La Monadologie, 1714) is one of Gottfried Leibniz's best known works of his later philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, ex ...
'' that "we are all mere Empirics in three fourths of our actions." Rationalism was criticized by American psychologist
William James William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citi ...
for being out of touch with reality. James also criticized rationalism for representing the universe as a closed system, which contrasts to his view that the universe is an open system. In
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

politics
, rationalism, since the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
, historically emphasized a "politics of reason" centered upon
rational choice Rational choice theory, also known as theory of rational choice, choice theory or rational action theory, is a framework for understanding and often formally modeling social and economic behavior. It dictates that every person, in order to dete ...
,
deontology In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek language, Greek: + ) is the normative ethics, normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a s ...
,
utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a family of normative Normative generally means relating to an evaluative standard. Normativity is the phenomenon in human societies of designating some actions or outcomes as good or desirable or permissible and others as ba ...
,
secularism Secularism is the principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...

secularism
, and
irreligion Irreligion or nonreligion is the absence or rejection of religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precise ...

irreligion
 – the latter aspect's
antitheism Antitheism, sometimes spelled anti-theism, is the opposition to theism Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, supreme being or deities. In common parlance, or when contrasted with ''deism'', the term ofte ...
was later softened by the adoption of pluralistic reasoning methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology. In this regard, the philosopher
John Cottingham John Cottingham (born 1943) is an English philosopher. The focus of his research has been early-modern philosophy (especially Descartes), the philosophy of religion Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central the ...
noted how rationalism, a
methodology Methodology is the study of research methods, or, more formally, "'a contextual framework' for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choices researchers
r other users R, or r, is the eighteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet The ISO basic Latin alphabet is a Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that ...
make". It compris ...
, became socially conflated with
atheism Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psy ...

atheism
, a
worldview A worldview or world-view is the fundamental cognitive Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual ...

worldview
:


Philosophical usage

Rationalism is often contrasted with
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
. Taken very broadly, these views are not mutually exclusive, since a philosopher can be both rationalist and empiricist. Taken to extremes, the empiricist view holds that all ideas come to us ''a posteriori'', that is to say, through experience; either through the external senses or through such inner sensations as pain and gratification. The empiricist essentially believes that knowledge is based on or derived directly from experience. The rationalist believes we come to knowledge ''a priori'' – through the use of logic – and is thus independent of sensory experience. In other words, as
Galen Strawson Galen John Strawson (born 1952) is a British analytic philosopher and literary critic who works primarily on philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relations ...
once wrote, "you can see that it is true just lying on your couch. You don't have to get up off your couch and go outside and examine the way things are in the physical world. You don't have to do any science." Between both philosophies, the issue at hand is the fundamental source of human knowledge and the proper techniques for verifying what we think we know. Whereas both philosophies are under the umbrella of
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemology
, their argument lies in the understanding of the warrant, which is under the wider epistemic umbrella of the
theory of justification Justification (also called epistemic justification) is a concept in epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, ...
. Part of
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemology
, this theory attempts to understand the justification of
propositions In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is shared by all sentences with the same mea ...
and
beliefs A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either tru ...

beliefs
. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant,
rationality Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reaso ...

rationality
, and
probability Probability is the branch of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained ...

probability
. Of these four terms, the term that has been most widely used and discussed by the early 21st century is "warrant". Loosely speaking, justification is the reason that someone (probably) holds a belief. If ''A'' makes a claim and then ''B'' casts doubt on it, ''As next move would normally be to provide justification for the claim. The precise method one uses to provide justification is where the lines are drawn between rationalism and empiricism (among other philosophical views). Much of the debate in these fields are focused on
analyzing Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Ari ...
the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
,
belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconsci ...

belief
, and justification. At its core, rationalism consists of three basic claims. For people to consider themselves rationalists, they must adopt at least one of these three claims: the intuition/deduction thesis, the innate knowledge thesis, or the innate concept thesis. In addition, a rationalist can choose to adopt the claim of Indispensability of Reason and or the claim of Superiority of Reason, although one can be a rationalist without adopting either thesis. The indispensability of reason thesis: "The knowledge we gain in subject area, ''S'', by intuition and deduction, as well as the ideas and instances of knowledge in ''S'' that are innate to us, could not have been gained by us through sense experience." In short, this thesis claims that experience cannot provide what we gain from reason. The superiority of reason thesis: '"The knowledge we gain in subject area ''S'' by intuition and deduction or have innately is superior to any knowledge gained by sense experience". In other words, this thesis claims reason is superior to experience as a source for knowledge. Rationalists often adopt similar stances on other aspects of philosophy. Most rationalists reject skepticism for the areas of knowledge they claim are knowable ''a priori''. When you claim some truths are innately known to us, one must reject skepticism in relation to those truths. Especially for rationalists who adopt the Intuition/Deduction thesis, the idea of epistemic foundationalism tends to crop up. This is the view that we know some truths without basing our belief in them on any others and that we then use this foundational knowledge to know more truths.


The intuition/deduction thesis

Generally speaking, intuition is ''a priori'' knowledge or experiential belief characterized by its immediacy; a form of rational insight. We simply "see" something in such a way as to give us a warranted belief. Beyond that, the nature of intuition is hotly debated. In the same way, generally speaking, deduction is the process of
reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ...

reasoning
from one or more general
premise A premise or premiss is a true or false statement that helps form the body of an argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, appl ...
s to reach a logically certain conclusion. Using valid
argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, la ...
s, we can deduce from intuited premises. For example, when we combine both concepts, we can intuit that the number three is prime and that it is greater than two. We then deduce from this knowledge that there is a prime number greater than two. Thus, it can be said that intuition and deduction combined to provide us with ''a priori'' knowledge – we gained this knowledge independently of sense experience. To argue in favor of this thesis,
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the " 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ...

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
, a prominent German philosopher, says, Empiricists such as
David Hume David Hume (; born David Home; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) Cranston, Maurice, and Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020 999999 or triple nine most often refers to: * 999 (emergency telephone number) 250px, A sign on a beach ...

David Hume
have been willing to accept this thesis for describing the relationships among our own concepts. In this sense, empiricists argue that we are allowed to intuit and deduce truths from knowledge that has been obtained ''a posteriori''. By injecting different subjects into the Intuition/Deduction thesis, we are able to generate different arguments. Most rationalists agree
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
is knowable by applying the intuition and deduction. Some go further to include into the category of things knowable by intuition and deduction. Furthermore, some rationalists also claim
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
is knowable in this thesis. Naturally, the more subjects the rationalists claim to be knowable by the Intuition/Deduction thesis, the more certain they are of their warranted beliefs, and the more strictly they adhere to the infallibility of intuition, the more controversial their truths or claims and the more radical their rationalism. In addition to different subjects, rationalists sometimes vary the strength of their claims by adjusting their understanding of the warrant. Some rationalists understand warranted beliefs to be beyond even the slightest doubt; others are more conservative and understand the warrant to be belief beyond a reasonable doubt. Rationalists also have different understanding and claims involving the connection between intuition and truth. Some rationalists claim that intuition is infallible and that anything we intuit to be true is as such. More contemporary rationalists accept that intuition is not always a source of certain knowledge – thus allowing for the possibility of a deceiver who might cause the rationalist to intuit a false proposition in the same way a third party could cause the rationalist to have perceptions of
nonexistent object An object of the mind is an object (philosophy), object that Existence, exists in the imagination, but which, in the real world, can only be represented or modeled. Some such objects are abstractions, literary concepts, or fictional scenarios. Clos ...
s.


The innate knowledge thesis

The Innate Knowledge thesis is similar to the Intuition/Deduction thesis in the regard that both theses claim
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
is gained ''a priori''. The two theses go their separate ways when describing how that knowledge is gained. As the name, and the rationale, suggests, the Innate Knowledge thesis claims knowledge is simply part of our rational nature. Experiences can trigger a process that allows this knowledge to come into our consciousness, but the experiences don't provide us with the knowledge itself. The knowledge has been with us since the beginning and the experience simply brought into focus, in the same way a photographer can bring the background of a picture into focus by changing the aperture of the lens. The background was always there, just not in focus. This thesis targets a problem with the nature of inquiry originally postulated by
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
in ''
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determine whether virt ...

Meno
''. Here, Plato asks about inquiry; how do we gain knowledge of a theorem in geometry? We inquire into the matter. Yet, knowledge by inquiry seems impossible. In other words, "If we already have the knowledge, there is no place for inquiry. If we lack the knowledge, we don't know what we are seeking and cannot recognize it when we find it. Either way we cannot gain knowledge of the theorem by inquiry. Yet, we do know some theorems." The Innate Knowledge thesis offers a solution to this
paradox A paradox is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one's expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-contradictory or a logically u ...

paradox
. By claiming that knowledge is already with us, either or
unconsciously The unconscious mind (or the unconscious) consists of the processes in the mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its mode ...
, a rationalist claims we don't really "learn" things in the traditional usage of the word, but rather that we simply bring to light what we already know.


The innate concept thesis

Similar to the Innate Knowledge thesis, the Innate Concept thesis suggests that some concepts are simply part of our rational nature. These concepts are ''a priori'' in nature and sense experience is irrelevant to determining the nature of these concepts (though, sense experience can help bring the concepts to our
conscious mind , an English Paracelsian physician Consciousness, at its simplest, is "sentience Sentience is the capacity to be aware of feelings and sensations. The word was first coined by philosophers in the 1630s for the concept of an ability to feel, d ...

conscious mind
). In his book, ''
Meditations on First Philosophy#REDIRECT Meditations on First Philosophy ''Meditations on First Philosophy, in which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated'' ( la, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas de ...
'',
René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s ...

René Descartes
postulates three classifications for our
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosoph ...

idea
s when he says, "Among my ideas, some appear to be innate, some to be adventitious, and others to have been invented by me. My understanding of what a thing is, what truth is, and what thought is, seems to derive simply from my own nature. But my hearing a noise, as I do now, or seeing the sun, or feeling the fire, comes from things which are located outside me, or so I have hitherto judged. Lastly,
sirens Siren or sirens may refer to: Common meanings * Siren (alarm) A siren is a loud noise-making device. Civil defense sirens are mounted in fixed locations and used to warn of natural disasters or attacks. Sirens are used on emergency service ...
,
hippogriff The hippogriff, or sometimes spelled hippogryph ( el, Ἱππόγρυπας), is a legendary creature A legendary creature (also known as a ''mythological'', ''mythic'' or ''fabulous'' creature) is a supernatural The supernatural encompa ...
s and the like are my own invention." Adventitious ideas are those concepts that we gain through sense experiences, ideas such as the sensation of heat, because they originate from outside sources; transmitting their own likeness rather than something else and something you simply cannot
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator A testator () is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or at ...
away. Ideas invented by us, such as those found in
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

mythology
,
legend A legend is a Folklore genre, genre of folklore that consists of a narrative featuring human actions, believed or perceived, both by teller and listeners, to have taken place in human history. Narratives in this genre may demonstrate human valu ...

legend
s, and
fairy tale A fairy tale, fairytale, wonder tale, magic tale, fairy story or ''Märchen'' is an instance of European folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common ...

fairy tale
s are created by us from other ideas we possess. Lastly, innate ideas, such as our ideas of
perfection Perfection is a state, variously, of completeness, flawlessness, or supreme excellence. The term is used to designate a range of diverse, if often kindred, concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive r ...

perfection
, are those ideas we have as a result of mental processes that are beyond what experience can directly or indirectly provide.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the " 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ...

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
defends the idea of innate concepts by suggesting the mind plays a role in determining the nature of concepts, to explain this, he likens the mind to a block of marble in the '' New Essays on Human Understanding'', Some philosophers, such as
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * ...

John Locke
(who is considered one of the most influential thinkers of the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
and an
empiricist In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
) argue that the Innate Knowledge thesis and the Innate Concept thesis are the same. Other philosophers, such as Peter Carruthers, argue that the two theses are distinct from one another. As with the other theses covered under the umbrella of rationalism, the more types and greater number of concepts a philosopher claims to be innate, the more controversial and radical their position; "the more a concept seems removed from experience and the mental operations we can perform on experience the more plausibly it may be claimed to be innate. Since we do not experience perfect triangles but do experience pains, our concept of the former is a more promising candidate for being innate than our concept of the latter.


History


Rationalist philosophy in Western antiquity

Although rationalism in its modern form post-dates antiquity, philosophers from this time laid down the foundations of rationalism. In particular, the understanding that we may be aware of knowledge available only through the use of rational thought.


Pythagoras (570–495 BCE)

Pythagoras was one of the first Western philosophers to stress rationalist insight. He is often revered as a great
mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces ...

mathematician
,
mystic A mystic is a person who practices mysticism, or a reference to a mystery, mystic craft, first hand-experience or the occult. Mystic may also refer to: Places United States * Mistick, an old name for parts of Malden and Medford, Massachusetts * ...
and
scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves ...

scientist
, but he is best known for the
Pythagorean theorem In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no ...

Pythagorean theorem
, which bears his name, and for discovering the mathematical relationship between the length of strings on lute and the pitches of the notes. Pythagoras "believed these harmonies reflected the ultimate nature of reality. He summed up the implied metaphysical rationalism in the words "All is number". It is probable that he had caught the rationalist's vision, later seen by
Galileo Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( , ; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an astronomer An astronomer is a in the field of who focuses their studies on a specific question or field o ...

Galileo
(1564–1642), of a world governed throughout by mathematically formulable laws". It has been said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom.


Plato (427–347 BCE)

Plato held rational insight to a very high standard, as is seen in his works such as
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determine whether virt ...

Meno
and The Republic. He taught on the
Theory of Forms#REDIRECT Theory of forms {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{Redirect from other capitalisation {{Redirect unprintworthy ...
(or the Theory of Ideas) which asserts that the highest and most fundamental kind of reality is not the material world of change known to us through sensation, but rather the abstract, non-material (but substantial) world of forms (or ideas). For Plato, these forms were accessible only to reason and not to sense. In fact, it is said that Plato admired reason, especially in
geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mat ...

geometry
, so highly that he had the phrase "Let no one ignorant of geometry enter" inscribed over the door to his academy.


Aristotle (384–322 BCE)

Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
's main contribution to rationalist thinking was the use of
syllogistic A syllogism ( grc-gre, συλλογισμός, ''syllogismos'', 'conclusion, inference') is a kind of logical argument In logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, ...
logic and its use in argument. Aristotle defines syllogism as "a discourse in which certain (specific) things having been supposed, something different from the things supposed results of necessity because these things are so." Despite this very general definition, Aristotle limits himself to categorical syllogisms which consist of three
categorical proposition In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents stateme ...
s in his work ''
Prior Analytics The ''Prior Analytics'' ( grc-gre, Ἀναλυτικὰ Πρότερα; la, Analytica Priora) is a work by Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A p ...
''. These included categorical modal syllogisms.


Middle Ages

Although the three great Greek philosophers disagreed with one another on specific points, they all agreed that rational thought could bring to light knowledge that was self-evident – information that humans otherwise could not know without the use of reason. After Aristotle's death, Western rationalistic thought was generally characterized by its application to theology, such as in the works of , the Islamic philosopher , , and Jewish philosopher and theologian
Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
. One notable event in the Western timeline was the philosophy of
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
who attempted to merge Greek rationalism and Christian revelation in the thirteenth-century.


Classical rationalism

Early modern rationalism has its roots in the 17th-century
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
, with some notable intellectual representatives like
Hugo Grotius Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and in Dutch as Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundam ...

Hugo Grotius
,
René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s ...

René Descartes
, and
Baruch Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Por ...

Baruch Spinoza
.


René Descartes (1596–1650)

Descartes was the first of the modern rationalists and has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy.' Much subsequent
Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality ...
is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. Descartes thought that only knowledge of eternal truths including the truths of mathematics, and the epistemological and metaphysical foundations of the sciences could be attained by reason alone; other knowledge, the knowledge of physics, required experience of the world, aided by the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
. He also argued that although
dream A dream is a succession of image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Na ...

dream
s appear as real as sense experience, these dreams cannot provide persons with knowledge. Also, since conscious sense experience can be the cause of illusions, then sense experience itself can be doubtable. As a result, Descartes deduced that a rational pursuit of truth should doubt every belief about sensory reality. He elaborated these beliefs in such works as ''
Discourse on the Method ''Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences'' (french: Discours de la Méthode Pour bien conduire sa raison, et chercher la vérité dans les sciences) is a philosophical Philosophy ...
'', ''
Meditations on First Philosophy#REDIRECT Meditations on First Philosophy ''Meditations on First Philosophy, in which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated'' ( la, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas de ...
'', and ''
Principles of Philosophy ''Principles of Philosophy'' ( la, Principia Philosophiae) is a book by René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in ...
''. Descartes developed a method to attain truths according to which nothing that cannot be recognised by the intellect (or
reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
) can be classified as knowledge. These truths are gained "without any sensory experience," according to Descartes. Truths that are attained by reason are broken down into elements that intuition can grasp, which, through a purely deductive process, will result in clear truths about reality. Descartes therefore argued, as a result of his method, that reason alone determined knowledge, and that this could be done independently of the senses. For instance, his famous dictum, ''
cogito ergo sum is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as ...

cogito ergo sum
'' or "I think, therefore I am", is a conclusion reached ''
a priori ''A priori'' and ''a posteriori'' ('from the earlier' and 'from the later', respectively) are Latin phrases used in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaph ...
'' i.e., prior to any kind of experience on the matter. The simple meaning is that doubting one's existence, in and of itself, proves that an "I" exists to do the thinking. In other words, doubting one's own doubting is absurd. This was, for Descartes, an irrefutable principle upon which to ground all forms of other knowledge. Descartes posited a metaphysical
dualism Dualism most commonly refers to: * Mind–body dualism, a philosophical view which holds that mental phenomena are, at least in certain respects, not physical phenomena, or that the mind and the body are distinct and separable from one another ** P ...
, distinguishing between the substances of the human body ("''res extensa''") and the
mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fun ...

mind
or soul ("''res cogitans''"). This crucial distinction would be left unresolved and lead to what is known as the mind-body problem, since the two substances in the Cartesian system are independent of each other and irreducible.


Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677)

The philosophy of
Baruch Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Por ...

Baruch Spinoza
is a systematic, logical, rational philosophy developed in seventeenth-century
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
. Spinoza's philosophy is a system of ideas constructed upon basic building blocks with an internal consistency with which he tried to answer life's major questions and in which he proposed that "God exists only philosophically." He was heavily influenced by Descartes,
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Εὐκλείδης Euclid (; grc, Εὐκλείδης – ''Eukleídēs'', ; fl. 300 BC), sometimes called Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referre ...

Euclid
and
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an , considered to be one of the founders of modern . Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ', in which he expounds an influential form ...
, as well as theologians in the Jewish philosophical tradition such as
Maimonides Moses ben Maimon ; (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( ) grc-gre, Μωυσής Μαϊμωνίδης ; la, Moses Maimonides and also referred to by the acronym Rambam ( he, רמב״ם),, for ''Rabbeinu Mōše bēn Maimun'', "Our Ra ...

Maimonides
. But his work was in many respects a departure from the
Judeo-Christian The term Judeo-Christian is used to group Christianity and Judaism Christianity is rooted in Second Temple Judaism Second Temple Judaism is Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of ...
tradition. Many of Spinoza's ideas continue to vex thinkers today and many of his principles, particularly regarding the
emotions Emotions are psychological state A mental state is a state of mind that an agent is in. Most simplistically, a mental state is a mental condition. It is a relation that connects the agent with a proposition. Several of these states are a comb ...

emotions
, have implications for modern approaches to
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
. To this day, many important thinkers have found Spinoza's "geometrical method" difficult to comprehend:
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of G ...

Goethe
admitted that he found this concept confusing. His ''
magnum opus 's ''The Creation of Adam ''The Creation of Adam'' () is a fresco Fresco (plural ''frescos'' or ''frescoes'') is a technique of Mural, mural painting executed upon freshly laid ("wet") lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-po ...

magnum opus
'', ''
Ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
'', contains unresolved obscurities and has a forbidding mathematical structure modeled on Euclid's geometry. Spinoza's philosophy attracted believers such as
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity The theo ...

Albert Einstein
and much intellectual attention.


Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716)

Leibniz was the last major figure of seventeenth-century rationalism who contributed heavily to other fields such as
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
,
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemology
,
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
,
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
,
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
,
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whol ...
, and the
philosophy of religion Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions". Philosophical discussions on such topics date from ancient times, and appear in the earliest known s concerning philo ...
; he is also considered to be one of the last "universal geniuses".Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
He did not develop his system, however, independently of these advances. Leibniz rejected Cartesian dualism and denied the existence of a material world. In Leibniz's view there are infinitely many simple substances, which he called " monads" (which he derived directly from
Proclus Proclus Lycius (; 410/411/ 7 Feb. or 8 Feb. 412 –17 April 485 AD), called Proclus the Successor, Proclus the Platonic Successor, or Proclus of Athens (Greek: Προκλου Διαδοχου ''Próklos Diádochos'', ''"''in some Manuscript ...
). Leibniz developed his theory of monads in response to both Descartes and
Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Port ...

Spinoza
, because the rejection of their visions forced him to arrive at his own solution. Monads are the fundamental unit of reality, according to Leibniz, constituting both inanimate and animate objects. These units of reality represent the universe, though they are not subject to the laws of causality or space (which he called " well-founded phenomena"). Leibniz, therefore, introduced his principle of pre-established harmony to account for apparent causality in the world.


Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)

Kant is one of the central figures of modern
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, and set the terms by which all subsequent thinkers have had to grapple. He argued that human perception structures natural laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. Kant named his brand of epistemology "
Transcendental Idealism Transcendental idealism is a philosophical system founded by German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Meta ...
", and he first laid out these views in his famous work '' The Critique of Pure Reason''. In it he argued that there were fundamental problems with both rationalist and empiricist dogma. To the rationalists he argued, broadly, that pure reason is flawed when it goes beyond its limits and claims to know those things that are necessarily beyond the realm of every possible experience: the
existence of God The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions". Philosophical discussions on such topic ...
, free will, and the immortality of the human soul. Kant referred to these objects as "The Thing in Itself" and goes on to argue that their status as objects beyond all possible experience by definition means we cannot know them. To the empiricist, he argued that while it is correct that experience is fundamentally necessary for human knowledge, reason is necessary for processing that experience into coherent thought. He therefore concludes that both reason and experience are necessary for human knowledge. In the same way, Kant also argued that it was wrong to regard thought as mere analysis. "In Kant's views,
a priori ''A priori'' and ''a posteriori'' ('from the earlier' and 'from the later', respectively) are Latin phrases used in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaph ...
concepts do exist, but if they are to lead to the amplification of knowledge, they must be brought into relation with empirical data".


Contemporary rationalism

Rationalism has become a rarer label '''' of philosophers today; rather many different kinds of specialised rationalisms are identified. For example,
Robert Brandom Robert Boyce Brandom (born March 13, 1950) is an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom'. The co ...

Robert Brandom
has appropriated the terms "rationalist expressivism" and "rationalist pragmatism" as labels for aspects of his programme in ''Articulating Reasons'', and identified "linguistic rationalism", the claim that the contents of propositions "are essentially what can serve as both premises and conclusions of inferences", as a key thesis of Wilfred Sellars.''Articulating reasons'', 2000. Harvard University Press.


See also


Notes


Citations


References


Primary sources

* (1637), ''
Discourse on the Method ''Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences'' (french: Discours de la Méthode Pour bien conduire sa raison, et chercher la vérité dans les sciences) is a philosophical Philosophy ...
''. * (1677), ''
Ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
''. * Leibniz, Gottfried (1714), ''
Monadology The ''Monadology'' (french: La Monadologie, 1714) is one of Gottfried Leibniz's best known works of his later philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, ex ...
''. * (1781/1787), ''
Critique of Pure Reason ''Critique of Pure Reason'' (german: Kritik der reinen Vernunft; 1781; second edition 1787) is a book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, ; ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher a ...
''.


Secondary sources

* Audi, Robert (ed., 1999), ''The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy'',
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
, Cambridge, UK, 1995. 2nd edition, 1999. * * (1996), ''The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy'',
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for fre ...

Oxford University Press
, Oxford, UK, 1994. Paperback edition with new Chronology, 1996. * Bourke, Vernon J. (1962), "Rationalism," p. 263 in Runes (1962). * Douglas, Alexander X.: ''Spinoza and Dutch Cartesianism: Philosophy and Theology''. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) * * Förster, Eckart; Melamed, Yitzhak Y. (eds.): ''Spinoza and
German Idealism German idealism was a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fund ...
''. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) * Fraenkel, Carlos; Perinetti, Dario; Smith, Justin E. H. (eds.): ''The Rationalists: Between Tradition and Innovation''. (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011) * Hampshire, Stuart: ''Spinoza and Spinozism''. (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005) * Huenemann, Charles; Gennaro, Rocco J. (eds.): ''New Essays on the Rationalists''. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) * Lacey, A.R. (1996), ''A Dictionary of Philosophy'', 1st edition, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976. 2nd edition, 1986. 3rd edition, Routledge, London, UK, 1996. * Loeb, Louis E.: ''From Descartes to Hume: Continental Metaphysics and the Development of Modern Philosophy''. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1981) * Nyden-Bullock, Tammy: ''Spinoza's Radical Cartesian Mind''. (Continuum, 2007) * Pereboom, Derk (ed.): ''The Rationalists: Critical Essays on Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz''. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999) * Phemister, Pauline: ''The Rationalists: Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz''. (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2006) * Runes, Dagobert D. (ed., 1962), ''Dictionary of Philosophy'', Littlefield, Adams, and Company, Totowa, NJ. * Strazzoni, Andrea: ''Dutch Cartesianism and the Birth of Philosophy of Science: A Reappraisal of the Function of Philosophy from Regius to 's Gravesande, 1640–1750''. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018) * Verbeek, Theo: ''Descartes and the Dutch: Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy, 1637–1650''. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992)


External links

* * * * * * John F. Hurst (1867),
History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology
' {{Authority control Concepts in epistemology History of philosophy Internalism and externalism Justification (epistemology) Philosophical movements Philosophy and thought in the Dutch Republic Philosophy of mind Reasoning Thought