The pragmatic view of language is the practical aspect of human thought and action. It takes a more complex approach than the traditional definition of’meaning’, considering the context in which a speaker uses language, the implied meanings, and the potential meaning of an utterance. Using pragmatics as the basis for all human language interaction, pragmatics can help us better understand the role of language in our lives. Without a practical view of language, we would have very little understanding of what language can or cannot mean.
While John Dewey was a major figure in the classical pragmatist tradition, it would not be right to discard the legacy of pragmatism completely. After his death, pragmatism would begin to lose its momentum. Nevertheless, there are several authors who defended the philosophy. One such author is Robert Westbrook. His book, Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth, is one of the best available resources on pragmatism.
While Descartes believed that no statement about the world could be certain, pragmatists have argued that all beliefs should be considered working hypotheses and may need revision or rejection in the light of future inquiry or experience. Various pragmatists have defended fallibilism by arguing that even the most sophisticated theories can undergo unexpected revisions. Likewise, any scientific theory can be fitted with a number of alternative theories.
Using social pragmatics, a speaker can communicate effectively with other people in a more meaningful way. Whether the speaker is talking to a friend or a stranger, the speaker should be aware of the context and convey his message in the most appropriate manner. Similarly, a speaker should always be aware of the intent of the other person. A simple question like “are you watching this” will imply a very different meaning than an explicit statement about a new car.
James’s argument against the definition of a concept led to a renaming of pragmatism. The two men hoped that the word would be so unappealing that it would not attract kidnappers. In the end, James was successful in naming the concept as a name for a method, a maxim, and a principle. This led to the use of the term ‘pragmatism’ by both James and Peirce.
Since the emergence of neo-pragmatism, several high profile philosophers have taken up the theory. The most famous neo-pragmatists include Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, Nicholas Rescher, Jurgen Habermas, and Robert Brandom. These scholars have made a considerable contribution to the understanding of the philosophy of action and its applications to social and political life.
If pragmatic language is a weakness, it can be difficult to identify it. Some people who have it may seem perfectly social, but may have difficulties forming close relationships, participating in team sports, and working well in groups. Children with pragmatic language deficiencies may be passed over for job opportunities by more charismatic or socially adept peers. When pragmatic language problems are suspected, a speech-language pathologist may be able to identify the underlying cause and recommend remedial measures. The scope of pragmatic language is vast, and more interaction will help strengthen the skills needed to communicate effectively.