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Irrationalism is a philosophical movement that emerged in the early 19th century,[1] emphasizing the non-rational dimension of human life. As they reject logic, irrationalists argue that instinct and feelings are superior to the reason in the research of knowledge.[2][3][4]

Ontological irrationalism, a position adopted by Arthur Schopenhauer, describes the world as not organized in a rational way. Since humans are born as bodies-manifestations of an irrational striving for meaning, they are vulnerable to pain and suffering.[5]

Oswald Spengler argued that the materialist vision of Karl Marx was based on nineteenth-century science, while the twentieth century would be the age of psychology:[6]

"We no longer believe in the power of reason over life. We feel that it is life which dominates reason."

— Oswald Spengler. Politische Schriften, 1932.[7]


György Lukács believed that the first period of irrationalism arose with Schelling and Kierkegaard, in a fight against the dialectical concept of progress embraced by German idealism.[1]


  1. ^ a b Rockmore, I. (2012-12-06). Lukács Today: Essays in Marxist Philosophy. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 5. ISBN 9789400928978.
  2. ^ "Irrationalisme". CNRTL. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  3. ^ Duignan, Brian. "Irrationalism | philosophy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  4. ^ Kukla, André (2013-01-11). Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Science. Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 9781134567386.
  5. ^ Peters, M. (2014-12-03). Schopenhauer and Adorno on Bodily Suffering: A Comparative Analysis. Springer. ISBN 9781137412171.
  6. ^ Woods, Roger (1996-03-25). The Conservative Revolution in the Weimar Republic. Springer. p. 66. ISBN 9780230375857.
  7. ^ Spengler, Oswald (1932). Politische Schriften. Volksausgabe. pp. 83–86.