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A 19th-century portrait of English philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806–1873). In his work A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive (1843), Mill distinguished induction from ratiocination, and developed five principles of inductive reasoning now known as Mill’s Methods.

Borrowed from French ratiocination, from Latin ratiōcinātiō (argumentation, reasoning, ratiocination; a syllogism), from ratiōcinātus (reckoned) + -tiō (suffix forming a noun relating to some action or the result of an action). Ratiōcinātus is the perfect passive participle of ratiōcinor (to compute, reckon; to argue, infer), from ratiō (reason, explanation) (from reor (to calculate, reckon), possibly from Proto-Italic *rēōr, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂reh₁- (to put in order)) +‎ -cinor, modelled after vāticinor (to foretell, prophesy).



ratiocination (usually uncountable, plural ratiocinations)

  1. Reasoning, conscious deliberate inference; the activity or process of reasoning.
  2. Thought or reasoning that is exact, valid and rational.
    • 1913, Paul Carus, “Introduction”, in Lao-tze; Paul Carus, transl., The Canon of Reason and Virtue: 老子 道德經: Being Lao-tze’s Tao Teh King: Chinese and English, Chicago, Ill.: Open Court Publishing Company, OCLC 832824001, pages 14–15:
      Finally Tao comes to possess the meaning of “rational speech” or “word,” and in this sense it closely resembles the Greek Logos, for in addition to its philosophical significance the term Tao touches a religious chord in the souls of the Chinese just as did the word Logos among the Platonists and the Greek Christians. [] The Tao of man, jan tao [footnote: 人道], is the process of ratiocination, and as such it is fallible; but there is an Eternal Reason, ch‘ang tao [footnote: 常道], also called t‘ien tao [footnote: 天道], “Heaven’s Reason,” i.e., the world-order which shapes all things, and the burden of Lao-tze’s message is to let this Heaven’s Reason or Eternal Reason prevail.
  3. A proposition arrived at by such thought.
    • 1975, C[lifford] E[dmund] Bosworth, “Foreword”, in Imam Nawawi; Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, transl., Gardens of the Righteous: Riyadh as-Salihin, Abingdon, Oxon.: Published with the permission of Routledge by Islam International Publications Limited, published 2007, ISBN 978-1-85372-568-5, page vii:
      Where the Qur’an has not been explicit, the Hadith has often supplied guidance, providing an intermediate source of knowledge between the text of the Holy Book itself and the ratiocinations of the religious lawyers, the fuqaha’, who had recourse, when all else failed, to such principles as analogical reasoning and personal judgement.


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