Pragmatics is a philosophy of practical reasoning. It involves a study of the meaning and use of language and its interactions with other people and their world. In addition to a theoretical explanation of how language works, pragmatics is also concerned with meaning construction and negotiation.
Originally introduced in the United States around 1870, pragmatism is an alternative to analytic philosophy. The term “pragmatic” comes from the Greek word pragmata, which means “practical,” and is used to describe a realistic approach to determining how a particular topic will be handled in practice.
The key idea of pragmatism is that all philosophical concepts should be tested by scientific experimentation. This concept of pragmatism has been traced back to early discussions at the Harvard Metaphysical Club. Charles Sanders Peirce is considered the founder of modern statistics and a proponent of pragmatism.
However, pragmatics is not a complete system of truth. Instead, it is a collection of ideas that pragmatists consider to be of value in the real world. These include relevance theory, the correspondence theory of truth, and the coherence theory of truth. Although each of these theories has its own merits, they are prone to errors, such as confusing correlation with causation.
For example, pragmatism’s relevance theory states that every utterance conveys enough relevant information to allow a person to understand what the speaker is talking about. Likewise, the coherence theory of truth states that an accurate description of the world must be coherent as a set. Lastly, the correspondence theory of truth states that a person must be able to recognize correlation from causation.
While pragmatism was initially developed in the United States, it is becoming an intellectual centre of gravity outside of North America. A vibrant research network is being formed in China, Scandinavia, and South America.
Pragmatism has made major contributions to the fields of ethics, politics, and religion. One of its major proponents is philosopher Jürgen Habermas. He has written Truth and Justification, a book that presents a pragmatist theory of truth. Another major contributor is Cornel West, who contributed to the philosophy of race and religion, and helped develop prophetic pragmatism.
Though a third alternative to analytic and Continental philosophy, pragmatism has gained much attention in the past few decades. As more and more research and development is conducted on a variety of topics, public and private sponsors are seeking pragmatism as an alternative to other approaches.
Among the most popular pragmatist theories is the correspondence theory of truth. This theory asserts that a person must be able to distinguish between correlation and causation, and that a given fact must be a coherent set.
Pragmatism’s most important feature is the fact that it examines the use of language. Specifically, it examines how the meaning of a utterance can be negotiated with the listener. This is one of the most important ways of understanding a language.
Pragmatism’s other major feature is its emphasis on human experience. For example, a child raises his or her hand to answer a question instead of shouting the answer. Even a parachutist makes assumptions to ensure the safety of his or her landing.