Pragmatism for Children

Pragmatism is a school of philosophy that seeks to understand the world in a pragmatic way. In this tradition, philosophy seeks to determine the best ways to respond to problems and situations. The pragmatism of James, Peirce, and Dewey is a way of thinking about the world.

The pragmatist movement emerged in the United States in the 1870s. It presents a third alternative to continental philosophy and analytic philosophy. Its early generation was led by Charles Sanders Peirce and William James. The pragmatist movement was influenced by the scientific revolution centered around evolution.

Children with pragmatic issues often have difficulty figuring out how to respond to various social situations. They might tell stories in an unorganized manner, mention unrelated topics during conversations, or use inappropriate eye contact. Identifying these problems in children early can help them feel more comfortable in social settings and prevent their peers from ignoring their conversations.

Pragmatics also involves the study of the practical aspects of human thought and action. Its study extends beyond the literal meaning of an utterance to consider implied meanings and the role of language as a tool for communication. Pragmatics is a key feature of language, and without Pragmatics, there would be little understanding of meaning.

Pragmatics has an important place in the history of philosophy. Some of its earliest proponents date back to the early 1800s. In the early 1870s, a group of Harvard-educated men met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and began informal philosophical discussions. These included proto-positivist Chauncey Wright, future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and mathematician Charles Sanders Peirce. During the same era, an influential writer, philosopher, William James, a medical doctor, became involved.

The key concepts of pragmatism emerged in discussions held at the Harvard Metaphysical Club in the 1870s. These ideas became more widely known during the 1880s when Peirce and James wrote a series of public lectures. James and Peirce used the term pragmatism as the name of their method, principle, and maxim.

The field of pragmatics has many branches. The discipline spans the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Essentially, it concerns the relationship between language and its users. It examines the relationship between language and conversational implicatures and uses of language in social and physical settings. This includes questions and answers that a person may ask, and the contexts of how to answer them.