The study of human behavior and thought is commonly referred to as Pragmatics. It looks beyond the literal meaning of an utterance to consider the meaning-construct, implied meanings, and the potential meaning of an utterance. This view considers language as a medium for communication and acts as the foundation for all language interactions. Without pragmatics, there would be little understanding of meaning. Here are some examples of ways pragmatics can help us improve our language skills:
The term ‘pragmatic’ originated in the late 16th century. The word pragma comes from the Greek pragmatikos, meaning’relating to a fact’, and prattein, ‘do’. This philosophy can be traced to the work of Aristotle, who considered pragmatism the most rational way to approach the problem of social justice. While its roots are ancient, its present-day emergence is still emerging.
Recent philosophers have given pragmatism renewed interest. The most controversial are Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and Nicholas Rescher. Other notable pragmatists include Jurgen Habermas, Alfred North Whitehead, and Cornel West. It has also been adopted by the neo-Pragmatists, such as Stephen Colbert. The term is also applied to other forms of philosophy, such as the one advocated by Stuhr.
As a philosopher, pragmatism is a key philosophical tradition in liberal democratic theory. Many liberatory philosophical projects rely on pragmatism. But its roots are more ancient. The philosophy of the metaphysical club reflects pragmatism, and the Metaphysical Club was founded to discuss philosophical issues. Members of the Metaphysical Club included a proto-positivist Chauncey Wright, a future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and a philosopher named Charles Sanders Peirce.
Foundationalism has many critics, including Sellars and Rorty. In the 1920s, Peirce was skeptical of foundationalist theories of knowledge, which assumed that empirical knowledge rests on a foundational basis with no other beliefs that are a source of justification. In addition to foundationalism, pragmatism rejects theories of knowledge based on privileged perceptions. Foundationalist theories fail to consider the overall structure of knowledge.
A pragmatic language problem is often hard to diagnose. While someone with pragmatic language difficulties may appear socially functioning, they may not be able to form close friendships or participate in team sports or work in groups. They may also be passed over for job opportunities by their more charismatic peers. A pragmatic language disorder may be an indication of a broader spectrum of disabilities. If you notice any of these traits in a child, see a speech-language pathologist as soon as possible. Pragmatic language is a crucial part of social development, and more interaction will help strengthen pragmatic language.
In addition to the cognitive processes discussed above, Pragmatics also provides a framework for understanding and responding to speech in situations where it is difficult to understand the meaning of the other person. This is especially useful when communicating with people you don’t know. For example, if a child is talking about his favorite television show, he or she may be misconstruing the meaning of the other person. Likewise, if a parent is talking to their child about a baby, the child is likely to misinterpret that information as inappropriate or intrusive.