Ask Difference

Rationality vs. Sensibility — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on April 3, 2024
Rationality involves logic and reason, while sensibility emphasizes emotions and feelings.
Rationality vs. Sensibility — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Rationality and Sensibility


Key Differences

Rationality is grounded in the use of logic, evidence, and reasoned thinking to make decisions or form beliefs. It focuses on analyzing facts, data, and objective criteria to arrive at conclusions. Sensibility, in contrast, is rooted in emotional responses, empathy, and subjective experiences, prioritizing feelings and emotional intelligence in understanding and decision-making. While rationality seeks objectivity and logical consistency, sensibility values emotional depth and personal connections.
Rational thinking is often associated with scientific and analytical approaches, valuing clarity, precision, and detachment from personal biases. Sensibility, however, celebrates emotional awareness, intuition, and the capacity to be moved by aesthetic or humanitarian considerations. This difference highlights how rationality is about the intellect's capacity to deduce and infer, whereas sensibility is about the heart's influence on perception and choices.
In decision-making, rationality involves evaluating options based on criteria such as cost-benefit analysis, likelihood of outcomes, and practical implications. Sensibility, on the other hand, might guide decisions based on how they feel, the impact on personal relationships, or ethical considerations that resonate on an emotional level. While rational decisions are often justifiable through logic, decisions made with sensibility are justified by the depth of emotional satisfaction or alignment with personal values.
Rationality and sensibility can sometimes conflict, particularly in situations where logical choices might seem cold or inconsiderate, and emotional choices might seem impractical or subjective. However, they can also complement each other, as in comprehensive decision-making that incorporates both logical reasoning and emotional intelligence. This blend can lead to choices that are not only smart but also empathetic and considerate of human feelings.
The balance between rationality and sensibility is crucial in personal and professional life. Pure rationality might overlook human aspects such as morale, motivation, and ethical considerations, while an overreliance on sensibility might neglect practical limitations and objective realities. Successful navigation often involves integrating both, ensuring decisions are both logically sound and emotionally intelligent.

Comparison Chart


Logic, reason, and evidence.
Emotions, feelings, and subjective experiences.


Objective analysis and logical consistency.
Emotional depth and personal connections.


Based on cost-benefit analysis, practical implications.
Guided by feelings, ethical considerations, personal values.

Typical Approach

Scientific, analytical, detached from personal biases.
Intuitive, empathetic, influenced by aesthetics or humanitarianism.


Logic and evidence.
Emotional satisfaction, alignment with personal values.

Compare with Definitions


Uses logic and evidence for decision-making.
His rationality led him to choose the most cost-effective solution.


Embraces intuition and personal connections.
Thanks to her sensibility, she could navigate complex social dynamics effortlessly.


Emphasizes analytical and scientific approaches.
Rationality demands that we question assumptions and seek evidence.


Values empathy and subjective experiences.
Sensibility allows us to connect deeply with art and literature.


Values objectivity and detachment from bias.
She approached the problem with rationality, setting aside personal feelings.


Justifies choices through emotional satisfaction.
Her decision was driven more by sensibility than logic.


Seeks justifiable conclusions through reasoned thinking.
Through rationality, he resolved the paradox.


Prioritizes emotional intelligence and feelings.
Her sensibility made her sensitive to the needs of others.


Focuses on logical consistency and practicality.
Rationality guided the development of the new policy.


Guides decisions with emotional awareness.
His sensibility led him to prioritize his family's happiness.


Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, and of one's actions with one's reasons for action.


Sensibility refers to an acute perception of or responsiveness toward something, such as the emotions of another. This concept emerged in eighteenth-century Britain, and was closely associated with studies of sense perception as the means through which knowledge is gathered.


The quality or condition of being rational.


The ability to perceive stimuli
Lost sensibility in a toe.


A rational belief or practice.


Mental or emotional responsiveness, especially in being offended or in having one's feelings hurt
"The earthy humor of many of the ballads deeply offended her sensibilities" (Anne Stott).


The quality or state of being rational; due exercise of reason; reasonableness.
His sudden loss of rationality was brought on by excess drink.


The capacity to respond intelligently to refined emotions, especially in art
"They celebrated deeds that fit stereotyped images of noble valor, making the writing flat and tedious to modern sensibilities" (David A. Bell).


Objective consideration.
Such a discussion deserves rationality, not emotional gut reactions.


The ability to sense, feel or perceive; responsiveness to sensory stimuli; sensitivity.


The quality or state of being rational; agreement with reason; possession of reason; due exercise of reason; reasonableness.
When God has made rationality the common portion of mankind, how came it to be thy inclosure?
Well-directed intentions, whose rationalities will never bear a rigid examination.


Emotional or artistic awareness; keen sensitivity to matters of feeling or creative expression.


The state of having good sense and sound judgment;
His rationality may have been impaired
He had to rely less on reason than on rousing their emotions


Excessive emotional awareness; the fact or quality of being overemotional.


The quality of being consistent with or based on logic


(in the plural) An acute awareness or feeling.
I apologize if I offended your sensibilities, but that's the truth of the matter.


(obsolete) The capacity to be perceived by the senses.


The quality or state of being sensible, or capable of sensation; capacity to feel or perceive.


The capacity of emotion or feeling, as distinguished from the intellect and the will; peculiar susceptibility of impression, pleasurable or painful; delicacy of feeling; quick emotion or sympathy; as, sensibility to pleasure or pain; sensibility to shame or praise; exquisite sensibility; - often used in the plural.
The true lawgiver ought to have a heart full of sensibility.
His sensibilities seem rather to have been those of patriotism than of wounded pride.


Experience of sensation; actual feeling.
This adds greatly to my sensibility.


That quality of an instrument which makes it indicate very slight changes of condition; delicacy; as, the sensibility of a balance, or of a thermometer.


Mental responsiveness and awareness


Refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions;
Cruelty offended his sensibility


(physiology) responsiveness to external stimuli;
Sensitivity to pain

Common Curiosities

Why is rationality important?

Rationality is crucial for making informed, logical, and objective decisions, especially in problem-solving and scientific inquiry.

Can rationality and sensibility coexist in decision-making?

Yes, integrating rationality and sensibility can lead to decisions that are both logically sound and emotionally considerate.

How does culture influence the balance between rationality and sensibility?

Cultural values and norms can emphasize one over the other, shaping how individuals are taught to process information and make decisions.

Can a highly rational person be sensible too?

Absolutely, a person can cultivate both rational thinking and emotional sensitivity, balancing logical reasoning with empathy and emotional intelligence.

What is rationality?

Rationality refers to the application of logic and reason in thinking and decision-making, emphasizing objective analysis and evidence.

What role does sensibility play in understanding art?

Sensibility enhances the appreciation of art by allowing individuals to connect with works on an emotional and intuitive level.

Is one approach better than the other?

Neither approach is universally better; the effectiveness of rationality or sensibility depends on the context and goals of the decision-making process.

How does sensibility differ from rationality?

Sensibility is centered on emotions and subjective experiences, valuing emotional intelligence and empathy over logical analysis.

How does sensibility affect creativity?

Sensibility can deepen creative expression by allowing artists to tap into and convey complex emotional landscapes.

How do you develop rationality and sensibility?

Rationality can be developed through critical thinking exercises and education, while sensibility can be enhanced through emotional intelligence training and empathetic engagement.

How do rationality and sensibility affect personal relationships?

Rationality can help navigate conflicts with logic and fairness, while sensibility fosters empathy and emotional bonds.

Is sensibility the same as being emotional?

While related, sensibility goes beyond simply having emotions; it involves an acute awareness of and responsiveness to one's own emotions and those of others.

Can reliance on rationality lead to overlooking important factors?

Yes, an overemphasis on rationality might overlook emotional, ethical, or intangible factors that are crucial for holistic decision-making.

How do rationality and sensibility influence ethical decision-making?

Rationality can provide a framework for ethical principles and consequences, while sensibility can guide moral intuition and compassion.

Can businesses benefit from sensibility?

Yes, businesses can benefit from sensibility in understanding customer needs, fostering team empathy, and navigating ethical considerations.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Obvious vs. Apparent

Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms