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Rationalism
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Rationalism

This article is not about continental rationalism.


Rationalism, also known as the rationalist movement, is a philosophical doctrine that asserts that the truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma or religious teaching. Rationalism has some similarities in ideology and intent to secular humanism and atheism, in that it aims to provide a framework for social and philosophical discourse outside of religious or supernatural beliefs. However, rationalism differs from both of these, in that:

Outside of religious discussion, the discipline of rationalism may be applied more generally, for example to political or social issues. In these cases it is the rejection of emotion, tradition or fashionable belief which is the defining feature of the rationalist perspective.

During the middle of the twentieth century there was a strong tradition of organised rationalism, which was particularly influenced by British intellectuals eg. Bertrand Russell.

Modern rationalism has little in common with the historical philosophy of continental rationalism expounded by René Descartes. Indeed, a reliance on empirical science is often considered a hallmark of modern rationalism, whereas Continental Rationalism rejected empiricism entirely.

See also: freethought, skepticism

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