- the doctrine that reason alone is a source of knowledge and is independent of experience.
- (in the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, etc.) the doctrine that all knowledge is expressible in self-evident propositions or their consequences.
- a design movement principally of the mid-19th century that emphasized the development of modern ornament integrated with structure and the decorative use of materials and textures rather than as added adornment.
- the doctrines and practices of this movement.Compare functionalism (def. 1).
OTHER WORDS FROM rationalism
How to use rationalism in a sentence
From the outset, the idea that the rationalist, centrist, administration would pursue this path seemed fanciful.Obama Brinksmanship Puts GOP in Tough Spot on Debt Ceiling|Daniel Gross|January 14, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Charles Darwin, the quintessential rationalist, tried to use only logic to make such decisions.
In this view, all it takes to dispel the gloom of religious sentiment in public life is a burst of happy rationalist sunlight.
In the early years of his London life, Mill had been only a rationalist.The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3)|Leslie Stephen
Thus the ninth century saw a rationalist and a pantheist at the court of a Christian king.Beacon Lights of History, Volume V|John Lord
It is one of the shallow illusions of the pseudo-rationalist school that the age of religious wars is passed for ever.German Problems and Personalities|Charles Sarolea
An answer perhaps could be offered of which the rationalist need not be ashamed.Winds Of Doctrine|George Santayana
Adrian is the fascinating dilettante, the philosophic doubter, a sort of romantic rationalist with a taste for art.Reviews|Oscar Wilde
British Dictionary definitions for rationalism
- the doctrine that knowledge about reality can be obtained by reason alone without recourse to experience
- the doctrine that human knowledge can all be encompassed within a single, usually deductive, system
- the school of philosophy initiated by Descartes which held both the above doctrines