freethinking vs rationalism what difference

what is difference between freethinking and rationalism


Alternative forms

  • free-thinking


free +‎ thinking


freethinking (usually uncountable, plural freethinkings)

  1. The principles of a freethinker; free thought




rational +‎ -ism



rationalism (countable and uncountable, plural rationalisms)

  1. (philosophy) The theory that the reason is a source of knowledge independent of and superior to sense perception.
  2. (philosophy) The theory that knowledge may be derived by deductions from a priori concepts (such as axioms, postulates or earlier deductions).
  3. A view that the fundamental method for problem solving is through reason and experience rather than faith, inspiration, revelation, intuition or authority.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture 3:
      The opinion opposed to mysticism in philosophy is sometimes spoken of as rationalism. Rationalism insists that all our beliefs ought ultimately to find for themselves articulate grounds. Such grounds, for rationalism, must consist of four things: (1) definitely statable abstract principles; (2) definite facts of sensation; (3) definite hypotheses based on such facts; and (4) definite inferences logically drawn.
  4. Elaboration of theories by use of reason alone without appeal to experience, such as in mathematical systems.


  • apriorism
  • intellectualism


  • sensationalism
  • irrationalism
  • traditionalism
  • mysticism

Derived terms

  • critical rationalism

Related terms

  • rationalist
  • rationality


See also

  • empiricism

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