What Is Pragmatic?

Pragmatic is an approach to philosophy that emphasizes the practical consequences of a statement rather than its abstract or philosophical roots. American philosophers Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey are credited with originating this pragmatic view of truth. The term has also been adopted by cognitive-science disciplines, such as psychology and pragmatics, which study the use of language to communicate meaning.

Generally, the phrase “pragmatic” refers to someone who thinks about real-world issues and makes decisions that are best for the situation. However, some people take the word pragmatic and apply it to a negative sense of someone who is abrasive or unhelpful. Using the phrase pragmatic to describe someone who does not stick to specific morals or thinking can be offensive and insensitive.

In project management, the pragmatic approach to project delivery is one that aims to achieve a desired outcome with a limited amount of resources. This includes leveraging lessons learned, identifying risks, and embracing opportunities for improvement and growth. However, abusing the word pragmatic can stifle innovation and creativity in project planning by glorifying the status quo and emphasizing the tried-and-true. True pragmatism should include a healthy balance between practicality and forward-thinking.

Using the word pragmatic to describe a person who is able to make quick, practical calls can be helpful. It’s important to consider the situation and emotions at hand when making these decisions, and a pragmatic individual is able to stay calm enough to think clearly about the options available. This individual is also able to avoid getting stuck on big-picture ideals and emotional responses.

When it comes to developing pragmatic skills, it is essential to create social situations where the individual can practice their new skills. This can be done through role play, modeling social cues, and providing opportunities for practice. It is also important to set goals that are relevant to the individual’s needs and developmental level. For example, a young child might need to learn how to take turns or interpret social cues, while an adult may need to practice communicating in a professional setting.

Although pragmatism has been criticized by many philosophers, it is still widely used in the humanities and the social sciences. It is especially popular in the fields of communication, sociology, and cultural studies, as well as in some cognitive-science disciplines such as psychology. In addition, it has been applied to a wide range of political and philosophical issues by a diverse group of writers. The pragmatist tradition is continuing to evolve, with new research and insights coming from South America, Scandinavia, and central Europe. These developments are reinvigorating a philosophy that has been viewed as a tired relic of an era long past. In the future, pragmatism could become an even more valuable contribution to philosophy and other humanities disciplines. In the United States, for example, it may help to rebalance the influence of analytic and continental approaches to the discipline of philosophy.