What Is Pragmatic Thinking?

Pragmatic is a term that is used to describe someone or something who is practical, logical and sensible in their approach to life. It is often contrasted with idealistic people, although many pragmatic individuals also hold some level of idealism in their lives as well. People who are pragmatic have a strong focus on results and consequences in their decisions and actions, and are willing to change their beliefs if they are no longer working for them.

Pragmatism is a philosophical school of thought that was first developed by American philosopher Charles S. Peirce in the 1870s. It is a theory of knowledge that emphasizes the importance of experience and the role of interpretation in constructing understanding of concepts, ideas and events. Pragmatism has influenced a number of other philosophers and thinkers, including William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead.

As an epistemological approach, pragmatism steers clear of metaphysical debates about truth and reality, in favor of a more practical understanding of concrete real-world issues (Patton 2005). In practice, pragmatist researchers use qualitative-dominant interpretivist approaches to research, but with an emphasis on collecting pertinent observations and reasoning at an intermediate level (Abduction), rather than developing propositions based on direct observations (deduction) or applying existing theories to these observations (induction).

When applied to human interactions, pragmatic principles encourage individuals to consider what works and what doesn’t in particular situations, instead of blindly adhering to traditional beliefs. For example, if someone is trying to decide whether or not they should hire an employee, a pragmatic person would focus on the skills and qualifications of the applicant, instead of relying on formal education or previous employment experiences. This type of thinking is essential for individuals who want to stay relevant in their careers and in the marketplace.

The word ‘pragmatic’ derives from the Latin phrase “prae facere,” meaning “to put into effect.” The philosophy is often described as a method of settling metaphysical disputes that could otherwise be interminable. It is also considered a philosophy of action, and stresses that reality changes at each turn of events, and that it can only be changed through actions.

Individuals who are pragmatic are motivated by the belief that they can achieve their goals more efficiently than others. This is why pragmatic individuals tend to be so successful in their professional lives. They know that great plans can easily be thwarted by outside factors, and they take the initiative to make the best of their current situation. For example, a craftsman may decide to forego the use of a classic tool and instead hammer in a nail with a hammer that is already on hand. Alternatively, his thoughtful fellow student may spend hours poring over a new textbook on the subject of the exam in an effort to prepare for every possibility.