Pragmatic is a word that describes someone who deals with issues in a practical manner and doesn’t let emotions get in the way. People who are pragmatic are very results-driven and focused on getting the job done. They are often very matter-of-fact and can be ruthless when it comes to getting things done. They’re not the type to waste time or money on unnecessary things.
The word pragmatic comes from the Greek pragma, which means action. Pragmatism is an approach to philosophy that puts a premium on how ideas and beliefs actually work in the real world. This school of thought was first developed by American philosopher Charles Peirce, who believed that reality is plastic and can be shaped by our actions. He was a major influence on the later pragmatists, such as James and John Dewey.
The pragmatists were critical of metaphysical theories that relegate change and action to a mere practical level. They believed that the purpose of knowledge is to adapt to and control reality. They also advocated that life is fundamentally a process of change. In the end, a pragmatist’s ultimate concern is to bring about good in the world.
Generally speaking, the pragmatists were skeptical of metaphysical concepts like truth and morality that had no immediate or concrete application to everyday human experience. This was in stark contrast to the more analytical school of philosophy known as realism, which held that metaphysical concepts have real, tangible applications.
In linguistics, pragmatics is the study of how meaning is conveyed in language. It differs from semantics, which focuses on the relations between signs and the objects they signify. Pragmatics takes into account the context in which a sentence is used and the social cues that go along with it, such as body language or tone of voice. It’s this contextual interpretation of a spoken word that gives it its true meaning.
To illustrate this concept, consider the following example: “My daughter says that eating too many cookies will make you gain weight.” Semantics is what she literally meant, but pragmatics is how her mother interpreted that statement in the context of their conversation. The daughter could have said that the cookies will make her fat, but because of their relationship and their conversations in the past, the mother interpreted the remark as a form of sarcasm.
This is an example of how pragmatics works in a language, but it’s important to note that different theorists have focused on different properties of utterances. There are two broad categories of pragmatics: near-side and far-side pragmatics. Near-side pragmatics focuses on the nature of certain facts that are relevant to determining what is said, such as the fact that a sentence involves a proposition and that it refers to something. Far-side pragmatics, on the other hand, focuses on what happens beyond saying: what speech acts are performed in or by saying what is said or what implicatures are generated by saying what is said.