The distinction between rationalists and empiricists was drawn at a later period, and would not have been recognized by the philosophers involved. Also, the distinction was not as clear-cut as is sometimes suggested; for example, Descartes and Locke have similar views about the nature of human ideas. The three main rationalists were all committed to the importance of empirical science, and in many respects the empiricists were closer to Descartes in their methods and metaphysical theories than were Spinoza and Leibniz.
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