A pragmatic person is someone who seeks to find the best possible method of solving a problem. Rather than focusing on arguments over which method is best, pragmatic individuals seek to apply the best possible method for the given problem. They are also inclined toward a freedom of choice in research methods, but recognize the advantages and disadvantages of each method. This definition may not be applicable to every situation, however. Here are some examples of the word:
The pragmatist tradition has its roots in the work of the Metaphysical Club, a group of Harvard-educated men that met for informal philosophical discussions during the early 1870s in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its members included proto-positivist Chauncey Wright and future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Other influential members of this group included philosophers such as Charles Sanders Peirce, a logician, and William James, a psychologist and medical doctor.
As with any other discipline, the study of the practical aspects of human action and thought is critical. Pragmatics looks beyond the literal meaning of an utterance and also takes into account implied meanings. It also considers language as a tool of interaction, including meaning negotiation between the speaker and the listener. Without Pragmatics, there would be little understanding of how language works. It is the foundation of all language interactions and is necessary for understanding.
The study of language is fundamental to understanding social interaction. Using language sensibly, in the right context, is essential for understanding human behavior. Using language in this way allows us to express what we mean in a specific situation, such as a conversation. By studying language in its context, we are better able to understand how people respond to situations, both in and outside of formal conversations. This study also involves studying movement gestures, which are the corresponding to the tone of voice.
While attempting to understand the world, people who are pragmatic are primarily concerned with practical applications, and avoid abstract abstractions and theoretical ideologies. This is a key difference between the two perspectives. While idealistic people are more concerned with ideal solutions and the best possible outcome, pragmatic people seek practical solutions to everyday problems. As a result, pragmatic people are called pragmatists. The term pragmatism may refer to a person’s own practice or an entire philosophical movement.
A pragmatist’s re-naming of the term pragmatic was the result of Peirce’s critique of the definition of reality. Peirce argued that a person cannot understand what he sees unless he has some sense of reality. While James defended a pragmatist’s conception of reality as the “thing in itself”, he used a pragmatist’s version of this idea to defend the pluralism of truth.
Similarly, pragmatics allows us to add context to a sign. For example, if we ask someone if they have two sons, we may respond with a question that implies “two sons”. This linguistic ambiguity could lead to a misunderstanding. If the question is followed by another question, however, the meaning of “I have two sons” might be different than “I have two daughters.”