Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(925 words)

1. Definition

The term rationalism (from Latin ratio, “reason”) denotes an early modern school of epistemology. It holds that pure reason is the best means for knowledge acquisition, whether of facts or norms, and that sensations and feelings (Emotion) are inferior to it as sources of information. In its extreme form, rationalism postulated that rational inquiry can reveal the true nature of all that really exists and that in principle all knowledge can be expressed in …

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Miller, Jon, “Rationalism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 01 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_026146>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210107

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