What is rational knowledge?

We explain what rational knowledge is, the types of knowledge that it encompasses. In addition, its characteristics and some examples.

  1. What is rational knowledge?

Rational knowledge is all that we can obtain through the use of human reason , that is, through the mental understanding of the phenomena of reality that capture our senses, and their analysis according to recognizable, demonstrable, understandable methods.

This means that rational knowledge is extremely broad, since it encompasses both scientific and empirical and philosophical knowledge , although these three are different from each other.

There are different positions regarding the fact that all knowledge , being necessarily human , passes through our mind and therefore is ultimately rational. However, rational knowledge is considered as the fruit of human reasoning as free as possible of emotions, prejudices , sensations, intuitions or subjective or unprovable values.

Thus, only that which can be explained and demonstrated according to a specific method , would be rational. In this sense, rational knowledge opposes intuitive knowledge, which is not demonstrable, and religious knowledge, which is based on faith and is dogmatic, and lacks demonstrable explanations.

  1. Characteristics of rational knowledge

The fundamental thing of rational knowledge is that it follows from reason, that is, to acquire it, a conscious, methodical, often argumentative effort must be made that obeys the formal laws of logic .

This means that rational knowledge is an analytical way of thinking, linked to a method. Therefore, it can be transmitted, demonstrated and replicated (in the case of experimental science).

In general, the traditional conception of reason excludes all forms of emotionality or subjectivity, aspiring to be as objective as possible . However, it is known that total objectivity is impossible and that even in the most seemingly rational and scientific forms a minimum margin of subjectivities persists.

  1. Examples of rational knowledge

rational scientific knowledge
Science is a form of rational knowledge.

A couple of examples of rational knowledge are:

  • Scientific knowledge , in which the conditions in which a natural phenomenon occurs are replicated in a controlled environment, in order to isolate it and understand how it operates, thus drawing reliable conclusions regarding its underlying logic . All this following the scientific method , which is a rational method of verification, demonstration and validation.
  • Technical knowledge , which has to do with the use of tools and problem solving, involves the conscious understanding of them in order to find their correct mode of employment. All of which must be learned rationally.
  • Philosophical knowledge , since it aspires to understand human reality and existence from pure reflections, that is, without the need for experiments , but with formal demonstrations of deductive validity.
  1. Rational knowledge and empirical knowledge

Empirical knowledge is derived from the experience of the world itself , that is, from perceptions , so it can be considered a sensitive knowledge (of the senses). Thus, it can be more or less objective in assessing the object of study, ie, ou can lend itself to rational approaches, or not .

For example, a bad (empirical) love experience can be rationalized and become social learning (something that is tried to be done in psychotherapy, for example), or it can be translated into an emotional conclusion like “all men / women are equal” .

  1. Other types of knowledge

Other forms of knowledge are as follows:

  • Scientific knowledge . The one that derives from the application of the scientific method to the different hypotheses that arise from the observation of reality, in order to demonstrate through experiments what are the laws that govern the universe .
  • Empirical knowledge . The one that is acquired through direct experience, repetition or participation, without requiring an approximation to the abstract, but from the things themselves.
  • Philosophical knowledge . He who emerges fromhuman thought , in the abstract, using various logical methods or formal reasoning, which does not always follow directly from reality, but from the imaginary representation of the real.
  • Intuitive knowledge . The one that is acquired without a formal reasoning, quickly and unconsciously, the result of often inexplicable processes.
  • Religious knowledge . One who is linked to the mystical and religious experience, that is, to the knowledge that studies the link between the human being and the divine.

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