Rationalism (Logic)

Rationalism Definition:
  • Method of inquiry which regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge.
  • Contrasts with empiricism.
  • Rationalism is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive" (Bourke).
Rationalism Basic Facts:
  • Because reality itself has an inherently rational structure, there are truths which the intellect can grasp directly.
  • This is particularly so with logic & mathematics, but also in ethics & metaphysics.
  • The major inspiration of rationalism has always been mathematics.
  • Rationalists also stress the superiority of the deductive reasoning over all other methods in point of certainty.
  • Rationalist doctrine suggests that all the truths of physical science & even history can in principle be discovered by pure thinking, following the argument of self-evident premises.
  • Most rationalist philosophers also maintain that the building blocks of knowledge are derived not from experience but deductively from fundamental elementary concepts.
  • Examples of this attitude can be seen in Christian von Wolff, Ren Descartes & Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's writing.
  • For example Descartes's fundamental principle was that knowledge must be clear, and give philosophy the certainty & demonstrative character of mathematics, from the a priori principle of which all its claims are derived.
  • David Hume's attack on the causal relation led to the development of the new rationalism of Kant, who argued that it was wrong to regard thought as mere analysis.
  • In Kant's views, a priori concepts do exist, but he believed that if they are to lead to the amplification of knowledge, they must also be brought into relation with empirical data.
Important Rationalists:
  • Socrates
  • Plotinus
  • Porphyry
  • Hypatia of Alexandria
  • Al-Farabi
  • Maimonides
  • Rene Descartes
  • Gottfried Leibniz
  • Baruch Spinoza
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Christian von Wolff

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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