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Rationalism. Ali Pinkerton. Rationalism- (Latin- ratio , reason) -a theory of knowledge -Ideas and concepts are INDEPENDENT of experience/emotion -Truth is discovered through ONLY reason -Ball example. Definition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvlnG1923bs.

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Ali Pinkerton


  • Rationalism-

    (Latin- ratio, reason)

    -a theory of knowledge

    -Ideas and concepts are INDEPENDENT of experience/emotion

    -Truth is discovered through ONLY reason

    -Ball example




  • Renaissance/ Scientific Revolution

  • Believed in logic and reason, but also supported experimentation and scientific method

  • Rejecting philosophies of Bible and Aristotle

    - geocentric universe, etc.

  • Important milestones in rejection and development:

    (1543) Copernicus- heliocentric universe

    (1572) Brahe- stars not stationary/unchanging

    (1609) Kepler- laws of planetary motion

    (1638) Galileo- Math. Discourse, X Aristotle

    (1687) Newton- Principia, gravity


Renowned Rationalists:

-Rene Descartes

-Benedict Spinoza

-Gottfried Liebniz

Rene descartes

  • Cartesian Method

  • Accept nothing as true which is not clear and distinct.

  • Analyze a problem into parts and discuss it part by part.

  • Arrange thoughts from simple to complex as the order of study.

  • Enumerations must be full and complete and nothing must be omitted.

    Applied proofs to philosophy, e.g. to prove existence of God.

Rene Descartes


Philosopher, Mathematician


  • A priori knowledge

    “Prior to” (before experience)

    self-evident truths, definitions

    4+3= 7, parents have children

  • Innate Knowledge

    ideas people have from birth

    can exist without proof

    Descartes- “God exists.”

  • Logical Necessity

    must exist because it could not be otherwise

    To walk, you must have legs.

    Contrast with empirical necessity (study to pass test)




Rationalism in crime punishment

  • Raskolnikov

    -Rational mindset (justifies killing woman, using “paces”)

    -Monologues resemble geometric proofs

    -“The old woman was only an illness… I was in a hurry to overstep… I didn’t kill a human being, but a principle! I killed the principle, but I didn’t overstep, I stopped on this side… I was only capable of killing.” (275)

  • Marmeladov

    -Part I, Chapter II: rationalizing and making justification for his drinking

    - By looking at facts and not experience (how his drinking affects his family) he can eschew the problem.

    - “I try to find sympathy and feeling in drink. I drink so that I may suffer twice as much.” (14)

  • Dostoevsky

    - Many say C&P is his criticism of rationalism

    - Showing bad fates of characters whose philosophies and behaviors are based in rationalism.

Rationalism in Crime & Punishment