What Is Pragmatic Philosophy?

Pragmatic is a term that describes a person or solution that takes a realistic approach to problems. It’s the opposite of idealistic, and means that a person is more concerned with what works than with abstract notions. A four-year-old who wants a birthday filled with unicorns isn’t being very pragmatic. Pragmatic comes from the Greek word pragma, meaning “deed.” In the context of philosophy, pragmatic describes an approach to ideas that is more concerned with real-world application than with theoretical concepts.

For example, a pragmatist would be willing to accept the idea that there are invisible gremlins in the circuits of an electrical system. If this theory actually gets results, then the pragmatist might consider it to be a working hypothesis. If, however, the gremlin theory turns out to be completely false and does not yield any desired results, then it is probably not going to be considered very useful or practical. A pragmatist might also be willing to change or discard an idea that is not proven effective in the real world, but might still work well for some purposes (such as explaining how a particular piece of technology works).

A person who is pragmatic is oriented towards what works and what is most effective. This may involve making compromises and prioritizing practicality over theoretical or idealistic considerations. A pragmatic person is often more results oriented than others and is able to understand that they cannot have everything their way all the time. For example, a pragmatist might be willing to sacrifice their ideals in order to secure a better job, even if it does not guarantee success in the long run.

Several philosophers have contributed to the pragmatic tradition. Rorty, for example, reclaimed the philosophical name of pragmatism as a counterpoint to mainstream epistemology’s naive conceit that language and thought merely mirror the world. His iconoclastic attacks on this representationalism birthed neopragmatism, which has been championed by many influential contemporary philosophers (for instance, Hilary Putnam and Robert Brandom).

Pragmatics is also the field of study that explores how humans process information about social situations. It is a very important part of human communication, as it helps us interpret what other people are saying to determine how we should respond. This understanding can help us make good decisions in a variety of scenarios, including work, school, and relationships.

Children who are unable to demonstrate appropriate pragmatic skills may have difficulty interacting with their peers and teachers. Some strategies that can be used include providing visual supports, role playing and social stories, and implementing behavioral goals to develop pragmatic skills. It is also essential that pragmatic skills be developed at the individual child’s developmental level.

A third, more dangerous flaw in pragmatism arises when it is applied to moral and ethical issues. Generally speaking, it is fairly easy to see that pragmatism collapses when applied to moral questions, as the definition of what works becomes highly subjective. For example, the belief that Africans are not people in the same way as Europeans “works” for many, but it might not work so well for some.