What is Rationalism, Rationality?

What is Rationalism, Rationality?

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

The concept of rationalism (rationalism, rationalism) is frequently used both in everyday language and in philosophical content. Therefore, the meaning of the concept of rationalism in everyday language and its meaning in philosophy is different from each other. What interests us, rationalism in philosophy is a thought movement based on epistemology and which claims that the accuracy of knowledge can be based on thought and mind, not sensation and experience; It is the view that argues that the source of true knowledge is reason.

In everyday language, rationalism; It means not accepting opinions that have not passed the filter of reason and logic, being free from prejudices and emotional obsessions.

Rationalism; It is a teaching that adopts the fact that knowledge comes into existence with innate intelligence and the power of thinking, which is its duty, and sees the source of true knowledge in the mind, not the senses.

According to rationalism, our minds are innately equipped with some principles and abilities. We only need to use our logic in accordance with these principles in order to obtain precise information about all the objects that make up the universe.

According to rationalists, since the knowledge of mathematics and logic is rational, it is unchanging and correct information for everyone. Philosophers can also know all the facts about the universe by the same method. According to this view, the example of exact knowledge is mathematics. Rationalism argues that important knowledge about the world can only be obtained by methods beyond experimentation.


Rationalism is the view that nothing can exist without a cause, and therefore it is possible to comprehend everything. This meaning of the word in metaphysics leads rationalism to defend a view in epistemology that opposes empiricism.

That all certain knowledge comes from self-evident and necessary pre-experimental principles, and that we can obtain such knowledge only by virtue of these principles in mind; because it appears as an opinion that claims that our senses give temporary and fuzzy information. This view, which opposes empiricists who claim that our knowledge comes only from senses, perceptions and experiences, was adopted by philosophers such as Descartes, Spinoza and Hegel.

Rationalists have also strongly argued that reason is a reliable and effective tool for obtaining sound information. This is a rationalism that is opposed to irrational philosophies such as mysticism, unseen sciences, and sense philosophy. Then in the acquisition of knowledge. There are also thinkers and movements who adopt the right side of the empiricists’ view by claiming that experience is of great importance, but adopt rationality in this sense because they also trust reason.

For example, Marxism accepts the importance of the experience put forward by empiricism by considering the acquisition of knowledge in terms of the concrete activity of man, that is, praxis, and adopts the rightful share of classical rationalism, which asserts the activity of the subject, and fuses these two views into a higher whole and creates its own theory of knowledge .


Rationality is that the source of knowledge is reason; It is the name given to the philosophical approach that defends the thesis that true knowledge can only be obtained with reason and thought. Accordingly, certain and universal information can only be reached through reason and with a deductive methodical approach.

The rationalist or rationalist tradition in the West begins with the Eleans, the Pythagoreans, and Plato (the theory of self-sufficiency of reason is the dominant theme of Neoplatonism and idealism) (Runes, 263). Since the Enlightenment, rationalism has tried to put the methods of mathematics at the service of philosophy. Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza can be cited as examples (Bourke, 263).

Representatives of the Rationalism Movement

Rationalism is generally known as continental philosophy in Europe, because in England empiricism is more dominant. Indeed, the ideas of philosophers such as Leibniz and Spinoza have often been compared with those of English empiricist philosophers. However, when these rationalism and empiricism movements and the rational and empiricist ideas of philosophers are examined in detail, it is not a correct action or point of view. From a broad perspective, a philosopher can be both a rationalist and an empiricist (Lacey, 286–287).

At its extreme, empiricism rejects any knowledge out of experience and argues that all knowledge is acquired through experience. Rationalism, on the other hand, argues that at the extreme point, knowledge can be obtained completely and best with pure reason, without experience and perception. In other words, the most basic debate between empiricism and rationality (human) is the source of knowledge.

However, this does not mean that all rationalists argue that the natural sciences can be fully known without the aid of experiential knowledge and perceptions.

In fact, most rationalist philosophers have placed at least a certain amount of emphasis on experience as well, and no rationalist school has emerged that is as extreme as stated (Hatfield).


As a philosophical school, rationality and the basic principles it contains were subjected to great criticism in the 18th century. however