Characteristics of Rationalism and Representatives

What are the characteristics of empiricism?

Empiricism in philosophy means that all concepts are derived from experience, that all concepts belong to or are applicable to experience, or that all accepted beliefs or propositions logically means based on experience. It is a view that can only be justified or recognized.

What are the main characteristics of rationalism and empiricism?

The key difference between rationalism and empiricism is that rationalism is knowledge derived from reason and logic whereas empiricism is knowledge derived from experience. experience. Rationalism is about intuition, empiricism is about intuitive concepts.

What is the concept of rationalism?

Rationalism is a way of thinking characterized by abstract reasoning and reasoning methods. In common usage, rationalism refers to a basic sense of respect for a reason or the idea that reason should play an important role in human life (as opposed to theism).

What are the three anchor points of rationalism?

  • Reason Is the Primary or Most Superior Source of Knowledge about Reality.
  • Sense Experience Is an Unreliable and Inadequate Route to Knowledge.
  • The Fundamental Truths about the World Can Be Known A Priori: They Are Either Innate or Self-Evident to Our Minds.


In the 17th century there emerged a philosophical movement that the only source of knowledge is human reason. This article introduces the characteristics of rationalism.

Rationalism was a “philosophical movement” that emerged in the 17th century that claimed that the only source of “knowledge” was human reason. Empiricism objects to this, arguing that we can only know through sensory experience.

According to rationalism, the only true knowledge is knowledge gained by reason without the interference of experience and emotion.

The founder of rationalism is Rene Descartes. His interest in laying the foundation for new ways of building knowledge has made him one of the key players in the scientific revolution. It is often said that “modern” philosophy begins with his thought.

Descartes asks how knowledge is created. This method adheres to the characteristic medieval criterion of authority, according to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, that something is true only if it is declared by an authority such as the Bible, God, or justice. medieval philosophy. Furthermore, medieval philosophy operated according to syllogism, not generating new knowledge, but drawing deductive conclusions from premises that were deemed true.

Characteristics of rationalism

The main characteristics of rationalism are the following:

  • Cartesian rationalism, proposed by Descartes, sought to achieve a knowledge that was true beyond all doubt. The method proposed by Descartes was to doubt everything that was taken for granted. Cartesian doubt has 3 characteristics: it is methodical, that is, it is the method or way to reach the truth; it is universal, since it applies to everything known, and it is hyperbolic because it is taken to the extreme and everything is doubted.
  • It maintains that sensitive data misleads us. The only way to access the truth is through rational speculation.
  • He conceives reason as a structure of innate ideas that underlie human thought. Among them, the most important are those of substance and causality.
  • Consider mathematics the perfect science, because all its postulates are purely rational.
  • By pretending to know reality only through reason, rationalism supports the assumption that the structure of reality is rational and therefore knowable and explainable through universal laws.
  • It is not a unitary line of thought. From the thought of Descartes different philosophical systems developed.

Representatives of rationalism

The main representatives and authors of rationalism are the following:

  • René Descartes (1596-1650): French philosopher and scientist, founder of rationalism.
  • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677): Dutch philosopher of Sephardic origin. His most important work is Ethics demonstrated in a geometric manner.
  • Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716): German thinker who covered multiple aspects of knowledge.

Rationalism and empiricism

Rationalism and “empiricism” are the “beginning” currents of modern philosophy. Against the backdrop of the Scientific Revolution that began in the 17th century, both favored the human ability to acquire knowledge. However, they are known to be different.

Empiricism arose in opposition to rationalism, which believed that the only form of knowledge comes from experience. Experience is both sensuous (through the senses) and intrinsic.

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