AbstractThis article is dedicated to Ponti Venter for his contribution to the historical roots and systematic implications of philosophical problems. A discussion with him about four decades ago prompted me to investigate the Greek roots of our distinction of thought and being. In the analysis below, a brief sketch was given of the initial identification of thought and being in the thought of Parmenides and the consequences it had for the rationalistic tradition since the Renaissance, particularly in connection with the view that the universe itself has a rational structure. Two options were pursued in our analysis of rationalism: (1) to contrast it with empiricism and (2) to relate it to universality and the problem of what is individual. By distinguishing between conceptual and concept-transcending knowledge, an alternative systematic characterisation of rationalism (and irrationalism) is proposed, namely that it absolutises conceptual knowledge (whilst irrationalism deifies concepttranscending knowledge). This view allows for an acknowledgement of the ontic horizon of human experience, co-constituted by the dimensions of modal aspects and type laws, without elevating human understanding to become the law-giver of the world.
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