What Is Modern Rationalism?

Modern rationalism was a period during the 17th century in which philosophers believed that mathematics and geometry were appropriate foundations on which to base philosophical methodology. Modern rationalism is commonly referred to as epistemological rationalism. Descartes was the first modern rationalist, and was followed by several others, including Benedict Spinoza and G.W. Leibniz.

Descartes' famous "I think, therefore I am" quote was considered the building block of this philosophical era. Brand Blanshard wrote in his article "Epistemological rationalism in modern philosophies" displayed on Britannica.com that "Descartes task was to build on this as a foundation, to deduce from it a series of other propositions, each following with the same self-evidence." The idea Descartes presented was for everyone to challenge their surroundings via thought, research and examination. Questions, such as what is our purpose on Earth, are we a part of the universe or vice versa, etc, are samples ideals the era created. Many of Descartes ideas transcended time. He encouraged thinking of all types and substances. Many artists, poets, musicians and scholars developed successful careers simply by asking questions through their works. Conspiracy theorists are also an offspring of modern rationalist, due to their questioning of everything suspicious that happens in society.