Rational Knowledge: Characteristics And Examples

The rational knowledge is one that involves all intellectual experiences that are apprehended through observation and reflection on the nature of the objects that belong to empirical reality. Consequently, rational knowledge is broad because it ranges from physicochemical disciplines to philosophical and logical reflections.

In the first instance, it is necessary to establish that knowledge can be defined as a kind of cognitive certainty; consequently, when we speak of rational knowledge, we are referring to the obtaining or possession of an intellectual content that was conceived through reason and logic.


According to various philosophers, all human knowledge can be classified as rational since “knowing” is an activity proper to man, which is a rational entity. That is, knowledge as a concept is a product of the human being, who is a rational animal; hence, all knowledge is rational.

Man, as the only animal endowed with consciousness, built language as a means of communication and learning; for example, using a language or writing based on an arbitrary system of signs (alphabet) involves a rational effort. For this reason the knowledge, born of this language and this writing, will always be rational.

Other thinkers claim that there is a distinction between rational knowledge and knowledge itself. According to this theoretical line, rational knowledge differs from the rest of cognitive experiences because it should not be disturbed by man’s emotions, intuitions, sensations or subjective values.

Bearing this in mind, it is prudent to question what rationality consists of. Some experts assure that it is a capacity that allows making improvements through the application of a logical-mathematical structure. Likewise, all mental construction requires rational applications if consistency and objectivity are to be maintained.

One of the components of rational knowledge is logic, which can be defined as a form of argumentative rationality. Within this theoretical postulate, logic and reason intertwine to obtain rational knowledge. Another elementary factor to understand this knowledge is argumentation, which seeks to prove a proposition.


In order to list and explain the characteristics of rational knowledge, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of knowledge taken as a generic concept.

-Characteristics of knowledge as a generic concept

Cultural dimension

All human knowledge has a remarkably cultural dimension, not only in its origin but also in its formation and its application.

Objective and intercommunicative dimension

Most of the knowledge can be expressed through language, which allows them to acquire a codified, intercommunicative and objective dimension; this guarantees its transmission, its conservation and its interpretation among different individuals, cultures and languages.

Interaction of the individual in society

Knowledge generally encompasses human interactions, resulting in concepts closely linked to culture.

In other words, knowledge is related to the participation of man in his environment, taking into account other aspects such as creativity and experience.

-Characteristics of rational knowledge

After defining these elements, the characteristics that are typical of rational knowledge can be raised. These are the following:

Rational as well as analytical and logical knowledge

In general terms, rational knowledge is by antonomasia analytical and logical: its information is constituted in a logical way and follows the contents also through logic. It is an isolated knowledge of emotions and feelings .

Kind of synthetic knowledge

Rational knowledge is purely synthetic, which means that the understanding of rational knowledge depends on and derives from experience; in addition, it is based on induction.


There are several categories and examples of rational knowledge, which are divided into disciplines or intellectual areas.

Likewise, the different subtypes of rational knowledge are linked by the fact that all are dedicated to the search for truth through a representation or interpretation of this same reality.

According to this approach, it is possible to list the following examples of rational knowledge:

Scientific knowledge

This branch of knowledge arises as a result of methodical and systematic rational efforts, which require a social and collective investigation as they seek answers and explanations to specific problems.

In turn, scientific knowledge also seeks to offer us an adequate or correct interpretation of the universe. For example, this can be seen in the disciplines of physics, mathematics and geometry because they are systematic and methodical ways of knowing.

Philosophical insights

These knowledge attempts to encompass knowledge itself through the use of logic and reason; Thanks to this, philosophical knowledge is part of rational knowledge.

In addition, philosophical knowledge also seeks to understand the universe as a whole of meaning, which leads to the breadth of the general perspectives of any knowledge through the criticism of the precepts or foundations themselves.

For example, Plato or Aristotle’s approaches to the origin of things can be considered as philosophical knowledge; Philosophical knowledge are also the proposals of authors such as Descartes in his work The Discourse of Method, and Machiavelli in his text The Prince.

Practical knowledge

Like scientific and philosophical knowledge, practical knowledge is reason-guided forms of learning. However, they differ from the previous two in the fact that they do not remain in the theoretical aspect but rather advocate a more practical notion.

In other words, practical knowledge is aimed at carrying out an action with the aim of reaching an end. Due to the complexity of this category, other variations may emerge from this category, such as political, artistic and economic knowledge.

For example, practical knowledge is anything that refers to the foundation and the organization or hierarchy of social power. Disciplines encompassing economic production or home-oriented economics are also practical skills.

Themes of interest

Types of knowledge .

Subjective knowledge .

Objective knowledge .

Vulgar knowledge .

Technical knowledge .

Intuitive knowledge .

Direct knowledge .

Intellectual knowledge .

Empirical knowledge .


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