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Can one be a ratioanlist and an empiricist at the same time?

  1. Aug 30, 2008 #1
    An empiricist tends to place an emphasis on observable evidence, a rationalist goes off of reason, but why couldn't you mix and match them.

    If you Google them, you see a lot of philosophy pages with things like "Ratioanlism vs. empiricism" and so on.


    Some psychology tests place you as being more ratioanlist or empiricist, I believe INTPs and INTJs are more rationalist.

    But why can't you mix and match? For example, I believe it's extremely important to observe things and then to test them, and then reason from them. The reason helps because there may be tests you could do that are misleading or do not show the whole picture, and thus the test needs to be refined (dropping two items of different weight from a low height and a high height, for example). And, of course, testing might show that your the principles you had originally reasoned on were clearly wrong, as you tried the conditions.

    Wouldn't most people really be a mix of the two, rather than an either/or scenario?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2008 #2


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    Yes, to set these against one another is to create a false dichotomy. They are not mutually exclusive in a healthy, reasoning mind.
  4. Aug 30, 2008 #3
    Yah. I also think that there may be somethings that begin with ratioanlism, and maybe some of things ratioanlists attribute to being innate could be said to be from experience. So it's more about the degree to which you are either one of them, or rather, which whay you lean on a scale of rationalist or empiricist.
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