Pragmatic is a philosophical movement that focuses on practical consequences of ideas and theories. It has been influential in several fields, including law, education, politics, sociology, psychology and literary criticism.
Pragmatism originated in the United States during the latter quarter of the nineteenth century and has significantly influenced non-philosophers as well, particularly in the field of information technology (IT). While it is often associated with the idea that an ideology or proposition is true if it works satisfactorily, it has also been criticised for being too subjective.
One of the most prominent philosophers who have been influenced by pragmatism is Jürgen Habermas, a German philosopher who has made significant contributions to philosophy of law, ethics and political theory, among others. He owes much of his work to pragmatism, especially in his theory of discourse ethics.
He argues that the logical rules of language are essential to our capacity to make sense of other people’s verbal assertions and to interpret their meaning. He is particularly sceptical of Peirce’s analysis of truth as a ‘non-essential property’, and of the ‘independent validity’ of language in general, but he argues that pragmatism can provide a more fruitful explanation for this.
The core of pragmatism as Peirce originally conceived it was the Pragmatic Maxim, a rule for clarifying concepts and hypotheses by tracing their ‘practical consequences’ – their implications for experience in specific situations. This rule, developed by James and Peirce in their writings from the 1870s, produced a distinctive epistemological outlook: a fallibilist, anti-Cartesian explication of the norms that govern inquiry.
Another key tenet of pragmatism is that the meaning of a proposition should be found in the way it actually affects people’s lives. This means that a pragmatist will only support an idea if it is realistic and is able to predict outcomes.
Similarly, a pragmatic approach to research involves conducting research based on operational decisions that are aimed at “what will work best” in finding answers for questions under investigation. This allows researchers to incorporate different approaches in their research and investigate phenomena in a more holistic manner.
A third tenet of pragmatism deals with the question of morality. This is a more complicated area of pragmatism, as it relates to the ethics of action.
This issue is more complex than it may seem because the concept of morality is highly subjective. This is because a person’s morality is a part of their identity and not something they can simply be “true” or “false” about. In addition, a person’s morality is largely determined by their culture and history, so it is difficult to apply the same rules to someone who has no cultural background.
It is not a bad thing to have an ethical or moral framework to guide your actions, but it is critical that the theory that underlies this frame is something that will work for everyone. This is why many philosophers and psychologists prefer to use a constructivist approach when it comes to ethics. This is because a constructivist approach reflects the fact that there are various ways of understanding the world and how it operates. It also allows for a more thorough understanding of the human condition.