What is the difference between rationalism and empiricism? - ProProfs Discuss
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What is the difference between rationalism and empiricism?

Asked by Jenske , Last updated: Dec 29, 2020

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3 Answers

M. Klose

M. Klose

M. Klose
M. Klose, Content Writer, Oakland

Answered Jun 11, 2020

Rationalism and empiricism are two types of beliefs that deal with knowledge. Philosophers such as Alan, Spinoza, and Descartes are rationalists. They believe that knowledge is done through experiments.

This is why they feel science is the foundation of knowledge, for science requires experiments to prove theories and ideas. Philosophers like Locke and Hume were empiricists. They believe that knowledge is based on reason.

For them, the subject of math is the foundation of the knowledge learned. They disagree with experience because they feel the experience is not always accurate and is not superior to reason. Instead, experience comes second to reason.

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B. Strickland

B. Strickland

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B. Strickland
B. Strickland, Sales Manager, MBA, Houston

Answered Jun 11, 2020

Empiricism and rationalism are two different philosophical perspectives. Empiricism is an epistemological standpoint that says that experience and observation is the way to obtaining wisdom. Rationalism, on the contrary, is a philosophical standpoint that believes that opinions and actions should be based on reason, and not religious beliefs or emotions.

Rationalists believe that pure reason is capable of existing solely for the production of knowledge, whereas empiricism is the opposite. It can be constructive or critical. Construction focuses on the deciphering of religious texts, such as the Bible. Essential aims at the eradication of what is said to have been known by the metaphysicians.

It depends on more experience, rather than reason. On the other hand, we can all be rationalists when it comes to mathematics. That is based entirely upon reason; however, any other physical science is not based wholly upon reason. Rationalism believes in intuition, while empiricism is not.

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C. Marcus

C. Marcus

C. Marcus
C. Marcus, Content Developer, Washington

Answered Jun 11, 2020

Rationalism and empiricism are two different schools of thought. The main difference between the two schools of thought is the relationship between experience and the creation of knowledge. Rationalists believe that knowledge is innate, and occurs prior to, or before experience. Rationalism tends to be skeptical of one's perception of the senses.

It holds that whatever we see, smell, taste, hear, and even feel are just opinions that are biased by experience; therefore, we cannot fully trust them as sources of truth so far our experiences are different. Empiricists, on the other hand, believe that knowledge can only occur to someone as a posteriori, which is after the experience.

Their belief is that humans start their life with “blank slate,” and they begin to fill that slate with knowledge as their experiences accumulate. A question asked by Empiricists is if knowledge is innate, why are children born without knowing everything?

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