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Brittanica on Rationalism
Rationalism is the philosophical view that regards [[
as the chief source and test of [[
. Holding that
itself has an inherently [[
structure, the Rationalist asserts that a class of
exists that the intellect can grasp directly. There are, according to the Rationalists, certain rational principles—especially in logic and [[
, and even in [[
—that are so fundamental that to deny them is to fall into contradiction. The Rationalist's confidence in reason and proof tends, therefore, to detract from his respect for other ways of knowing.
has long been the rival of [[
, the doctrine that all knowledge comes from, and must be tested by, sense experience. As against this doctrine,
holds reason to be a faculty that can lay hold of truths beyond the reach of sense perception, both in certainty and generality. In stressing the existence of a “natural light,”
has also been the rival of systems claiming esoteric knowledge, whether from mystical experience, revelation, or intuition, and has been opposed to various ir
s that tend to stress the biological, the emotional or volitional, the unconscious, or the existential at the expense of the rational.
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