A SYNTHESIS OF THE RATIONALIST IDEAS OF PLATO, DESCARTES, SPINOZA, AND LEIBNIZ AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR 21ST CENTURY PHILOSOPHICAL DISCOURSE
In synthesizing the rationalist postulates of Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, this study seeks to make evident those features that are common to these rationalist philosophers as well as their peculiarities and diversities as independent thinkers. The paper also tries to show the implications of these rationalist ideas for 21st century philosophical discourse. Rationalist epistemology, which came into prominence with the arrival of Rene Descartes to the epistemological rostrum, has been there right from the classical era. Though Plato is not a continental rationalist, he is construed in this research as a ‘charter member’ of the rationalist school of thought. Some of the fundamental features of the rationalists which include the preeminence of reason over and above sense experience, the idea of innatism, intuition, and the indispensable role of the human mind in acquisition of knowledge are all identified in Plato’s epistemic exploits. It is striking that though the rationalists have some features common to them, there also exist areas of epistemic divergence and peculiarities in the manner they conducted their independent debates. This has been construed as a problem by some scholars; however, this work conceives it as epistemic advancement and consolidation. Critical analysis is chiefly the research method employed in this study.
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