We explain what rationalism is, its origin and its main characteristics. In addition, their representatives, conclusions and more.
Rationalism is a philosophical current that emerged at the end of the 17th century in France . It was characterized by recognizing reason as the only source of knowledge and as a pillar of society that allowed development through the search for logical understanding. Its main representatives were René Descartes , Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz.
Rationalism opposed the empiricist thinking that prevailed in England in the early 17th century, which relied on perceived experience with the senses to understand the world. He held that the senses can sometimes fail or mislead as to what is perceived.
For the rationalist current, reality had a structure that was based on logic and that could be grasped by reason or intellect. That is why he considered reason as the main source and proof of knowledge.
Among the main characteristics of rationalism are:
The word rationalism comes from the Latin “ ratio ” which means reason or calculation and refers to the human ability to establish relationships between various concepts in order to understand the world. Philosophical rationalism arose in a historical moment of paradigm shifts called the Scientific Revolution , which proposed a new model of thought and understanding of nature , starting in the 16th century.
The Scientific Revolution was characterized by Copernicus' heliocentric theory in which the Earth and the other planets revolved around the Sun , Mendel's laws of genetic inheritance, and Darwin 's theory of biological evolution through natural selection.
In this context, rationalism was defined as a philosophical current that sought to explain human experience and the events that occurred around it based on logic and intellect.
Rationalism opposed empiricist, esoteric doctrines and various ways of thinking that emphasized the emotional or unconscious over the logic of reason. He even opposed supernatural faith and many religious doctrines that held that the divine was revealed through inspired people.
Among the main representatives of rationalism stand out:
Rationalism considered it necessary to doubt everything that happened and was not based on perceptions to know the truth because the senses could distort reality. However, he did not doubt the existence of the human being, hence the premise "I think, therefore I am". To know the universal truth, the capacity of the intellect or reason was necessary.
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