What Do the Rationalists Believe?

The rationalists believe that reason does not require experience in order to be understood and that all of the truths of the world exist in innate forms. Rationalism is one of the five theories of knowledge, which include empiricism, skepticism, science and transcendental idealism.

Rationalism is based on the idea of reason "as the only reliable source of human knowledge," reports Queensborough Community College. It was first introduced by Descartes and then by Leibniz and Spinoza. Descartes introduced rationalism as an alternate viewpoint to scholasticism, which was a focus on academics, or scholarly pursuits. Rationalism is rooted in the real world and involves deductive reasoning, abstract ways of thinking and analytical reasoning.

Rationalism also opposes mysticism and proposes that people should use their reason to determine what exists rather than follow an intuitive logic or feeling within them. This does not, however, mean that rationalists do not believe in higher powers. Rationalists simply believe that a belief in God must be innate and that the knowledge of existence and of a higher power could only be innate. Another rationalist, Noam Chomsky, believed that the ability to learn and use language is an innate ability. Rationalists also oppose empiricists who believe that there is a duality of knowledge. Rationalists believe that innate knowledge is the only essential component of knowledge.