Pragmatic is a word that describes people who deal with problems sensibly and realistically. It can also refer to a philosophical trend that views the meaning and truth of concepts through their practical consequences.
Pragmatism is an important part of the American philosophical tradition and has influenced fields as diverse as education, science, and religion. It was born of a revolt against the overly intellectual and somewhat fastidious systems of idealism, which dominated 19th-century philosophy. It was a reaction to the new reality revealed by such scientific developments as Darwin’s theory of evolution, which demanded a more flexible and less limiting interpretation of the world around us. The pragmatists included such luminaries as Chauncey Wright, the proto-positivist, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the philosophers Charles Sanders Peirce and William James.
The pragmatic movement emphasized the need to adapt to change and control it. They relegated metaphysical beliefs about the nature of reality to a secondary position and were critical of doctrines that equated change with evil and the concept of life as a fixed entity. They saw knowledge as a tool that allows humans to cope with the world, control it, and maximize its potential for good.
One of the most widely used pragmatic definitions is: “a person or thing that deals with things sensibly and realistically.” It can also refer to a philosophical movement that determines the meaning and truth of concepts through their practical results.
People with autism spectrum disorders often have difficulties with pragmatic language. They may not understand how to use their words in appropriate situations and they may have trouble interpreting other people’s social cues. The most effective way to teach pragmatic skills is by using visual supports and role playing.
Pragmatics is a field of study that focuses on how we use language in real-world contexts. It is different from other areas of linguistics such as semantics, syntax, and semiotics because it looks at the nonliteral and cultural aspects of language. It examines how a physical or social environment can influence the meaning of an expression and how the use of a word is influenced by other contexts.
A pragmatic approach to therapy can help a person overcome specific problems, such as phobias, anxieties, or depression. It can also be used to improve communication and increase independence in daily activities. A pragmatic approach to parenting is based on the principle that parents should provide their children with the tools they need to function in society, and let them decide how to use those tools in their own unique ways.
In the political arena, a pragmatic attitude is one that is focused on getting results rather than adhering to theoretical principles. For example, a pragmatic politician would realize that compliance with international law does not diminish the probability of winning wars, so it is worth fighting if the outcome is likely to be a positive one. A pragmatic politician also recognizes that not everyone will agree with his or her decisions, but that it is more important to have support from the majority of the voters than from a small group of ideological partisans.