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Questions tagged [rationalism]

For questions regarding the epistemological view opposing empiricism. Rationalism, traditionally associated with philosophers like Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza, emphasizes reason, rather than experience, as the basis for knowledge. Not to be used for the concept of rationality or rational thinking in general.

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What are the more complex/interesting examples of synthetic a priori statements?

The usual examples of synthetic a priori statements are – it seems at least since Kant: "Nothing can be simultaneously red and green all over" 7 + 5 = 12 (or any other basic arithmetic statements). ...
viuser's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is Skepticism the most rational standpoint?

Is Philosophical Skepticism - the one that advocates true knowledge is impossible, the most rational standpoint? I am asking this based on the observation that there are very few things whose ...
AIB's user avatar
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8 votes
6 answers
854 views

Does philosophy shed any light on how parties can fruitfully debate without an agreed source of truth?

A hallmark of recent political developments is extreme partisanship, where each side has near total distrust of the other. To exacerbate this situation there has been a breakdown in agreement over ...
Bob Tway's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
740 views

What's so speculative in rationalists metaphysics?

From Loux's: Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction. The metaphysical theories of the rationalists, by contrast, were anything but conservative. In their hands, metaphysics results in ...
Red Banana's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Quotations from Descartes on Animals as Automata

Animals do not feel pain and are automata. This view is commonly attributed to Descartes. And I would agree that in his philosophy no other conclusion makes sense. But still, I want to distinguish ...
viuser's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Defenses of Descartes's rationality in regards to "cogito" fallacy?

What philosophers and in what writings, if any, have attempted to explain or defend Descartes's rationalism in respect to the "cogito ergo sum" fallacy pointed out by philosophers like Russell, and ...
Kyle's user avatar
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8 votes
5 answers
1k views

Can there be information without a "knower"?

I am trying to wrap my head around the principle of conservation of information as formulated by Leonard Susskind and others, which seems to me at first glance to be incompatible with the 2nd law of ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
339 views

Was there a "mechanist" program of early rationalists, like Descartes and Leibniz?

Leibniz and Descartes are said to put forth "mechanist philosophies," but I am having trouble identifying what "mechanist" means. Does it involve their affinity to natural science and mathematics and ...
PythagorasOnTheLineAgain's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
375 views

Measurement devices and empiricism

In the first physics lecture I ever visited, the professor shortly demonstrated the fallibility of our senses with a spinning disc optical illusion to justify the use of measurement devices. He didn't ...
viuser's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
114 views

Question on Spinoza’s idea of substance

Fundamental to Spinoza’s philosophy is the idea of substance as “that which is conceived through itself.” But it’s hard for me understand the content of this phrase. What does it mean, for something ...
Joa's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Which of Descartes’ arguments for the existence of God is the most successful and why?

With regards to his 3rd Meditation and 5th Meditation proofs of God, I can't seem to find any reason to see one as being more successful than the other. Mainly because while his ontological proof ...
carlssmiles97's user avatar