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Brand Blanshard, “The Rational Outlook,” Philosophers on Their Own Work, [May 1980].
Brand Blanshard Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Karen Huang ’11, Brand Blanshard’s Aristocracy

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Rationalism is the philosophical doctrine that privileges reason as the faculty by which both to acquire true knowledge and to regulate moral conduct. As one of the only rationalist philosophers of the twentieth century, Brand Blanshard (1892-1987) saw himself as a last defender of rationalism in an age characterized by what he viewed as the unfortunate turn away from reason. He witnessed this turn not only in philosophy but also in society, as exemplified by the two World Wars. Blanshard held a deep conviction that reason was necessary not only to lead human beings to the good life but also to solve the problems of the world. In this document he stresses the need for the universality and objectivity of reason to resolve pressing issues of international concern. Blanshard remains committed to the Enlightenment idea that only reason could solve issues of political and social significance.