rationalism

rationalism
Used loosely to indicate a rejection of faith or religion, and more strictly a view that all knowledge can be expressed in the form of a system, and that, in principle, everything can be known. In sociology it is sometimes used to refer to the alternative offered by Max Weber to the empiricist natural science model. The strong version of rationalism, that knowledge (at least in the social sciences) comes from reason alone (as opposed to sense-experience), is sometimes supported by writers as different as Weber, Talcott Parsons , and Louis Althusser . More recently, rationalism has been regarded by those labelled as post-modernist as a failed product of the Enlightenment; but, as Jürgen Habermas points out, such an argument is itself a rational one, and therefore self-defeating. It is difficult to see how any attempt to know the social world can avoid at least some rationalist assumptions. See also epistemology ; ideal type.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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Synonyms:
(of the Scriptures)


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