recta ratio

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First attested in an English text in 1677; Borrowing from Latin rēcta ratiō (right reason), a calque of Ancient Greek ὀρθὸς λόγος (orthòs lógos). Cf. Cicero, De leg. I, 7, I, 2: “Recta ratio - quae cum sit lex, lege quoque consociati homines cum diis putandi sumus.”

Term used in a letter to "Tom" by John Locke, October 20, 1659: “...We are all centaurs, and ’tis the beast that carries us, and everyone’s recta ratio is but the traverses of his own steps.”



recta ratio (uncountable)

  1. (philosophy) “Right reason”, which regards virtue as desirable in itself.
    • 1677, Theophilus Gale, The Court of the Gentiles, part III: “The Vanity of Pagan Philoſophie Demonſtrated”, ii:4.3, page 38:
      Here we may ſee whence the Scholemen borrowed their Recta ratio, right reaſon, which they make with the Philoſophers to be the Regula eſſe moralis, the rule of Moral Beings and Actions.