Growth of Rationalist PDF Download


Growth of Rationalist PDF Download

  • In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that “regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge” or “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification”. More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory “in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive”.
  • In an old controversy, rationalism was opposed to empiricism, 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, mathematics, ethics, and metaphysics that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction.
  • In politics, rationalism, since the Enlightenment, historically emphasized a “politics of reason” centered upon rational choice, utilitarianism, secularism, and irreligion[ – the latter aspect’s antitheism was later softened by the adoption of pluralistic methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology. In this regard, the philosopher John Cottingham  noted how rationalism, a methodology, became socially conflated with atheism, a worldview.

Philosophical Usage :

Rationalism is often contrasted with empiricism. 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 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

Thesis Of Rationalism :

At its core, rationalism consists of three basic claims. For one to consider themselves a rationalist, 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, rationalists can choose to adopt the claims of Indispensability of Reason and or the Superiority of Reason – although one can be a rationalist without adopting either thesis.

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 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) 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, Leibniz, and Spinoza. This is commonly called continental rationalism, because it was predominant in the continental schools of Europe, whereas in Britain empiricism dominated.

History :

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.

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