Rationalism

Rationalism as a philosophy is defined as using reason and logic because the reliable basis for testing any claims of truth, seeking objective knowledge about reality, making judgments and drawing conclusions about it. Although rationalism must ultimately depend upon sense perceptions, it also couples sense perceptions with logic and evidence. As per logic, the thought process of a rationalist must be free from logical fallacies catalogued in many introductory logic or critical thinking books. There’s no place for private bias or emotion in rationalism; although emotion and rationalism aren’t mutually exclusive, each has its place. More on this later. Freethinking, which is usually confused with rationalism, is defined because the free forming of views about reality independent of authority or dogma, be it from a divine or human source. If we keep on with the strict definitions, then freethinking isn’t synonymous with rationalism. One needn’t be strictly rational to be a freethinker. One is allowed the leeway to believe or form any opinion, not necessarily rational (essentially “think as you like”) because it isn’t influenced by existing religious, cultural or traditional dogma or authority. A postmodernist (Read intellectual anarchist) may claim to be a freethinker per this non-restrictive definition. But rationalism is far more restrictive. It enforces logic and evidence because of the guideline for thinking and forming opinions and cognition. So, although rationalism invariably ends up in freethinking, freethinking doesn’t necessarily imply rationalism since freethinking may include irrational views, beliefs and private bias.