The Importance of Pragmatism in Teaching Philosophy
In the early 1870s, the metaphysical club, a group of Harvard-educated men, held informal philosophical discussions. Some of these members included the proto-positivist Chauncey Wright, the future Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the logician Charles Sanders Peirce, and the moralist William James. Though the group became influential and prolific, there was no clear successor to Dewey and James.
In its original meaning, pragmatism focuses on practical considerations. The term dates to the late 16th century, and comes from the Greek word pragmatikos, meaning’relative to a fact’. Pragmatism also has many applications in the liberal arts and sciences, including philosophy. Despite its popularity, pragmatism lost its momentum after Dewey’s death. But, he does not necessarily mean the end of pragmatism.
Some of the key ideas of pragmatism were first discussed at the Harvard Metaphysical Club around 1870. These ideas were further developed by Peirce and James during the 1870s and early 1880s, and gained mainstream recognition in James’s public lectures in 1898. James and Peirce both used the term ‘pragmatism’ to refer to the method and maxim of their philosophy. Eventually, the term was adopted as a synonym for ‘ugly enough to be safe from kidnappers’.
Educators who take a pragmatic approach to education are often highly flexible, leveraging student interests and integrating these into organized knowledge. Students learn best when they apply their learning in real-world scenarios and settings. Thus, understanding pragmatism is essential to an effective teaching philosophy. It also encourages diversity. For that reason, pragmatism is often the best way to make an impact on teaching and learning.
In other words, when a person is talking about something like a new car or their favorite TV show, the listener perceives certain signs as a speaker’s disregard for their presence. Such signs may suggest that the speaker is unaware of his or her presence or that they are monopolizing the time of the listener. A pragmatic person, in contrast, will view an event as a harmless sharing of information, while a romantic person will see it as a rude monopolization of time.
Peirce’s use of pragmatism to clarify the concept of truth and reality is an example of his use of pragmatism in philosophy. Peirce presented his account of truth as a means of understanding reality, and claimed that this was an important factor in the scientific method. In a similar fashion, James used pragmatism to defend his theory of pluralism about truth. Its application in philosophy has led to a wide variety of interpretations.
Pragmatism is a branch of linguistics that focuses on the practical aspects of human thought and action. Its study of language as an instrument of interaction seeks to understand its use as a means for understanding human life. Its emphasis on the analysis of a problem and how it can be solved is a crucial characteristic of pragmatism. However, pragmatics is rarely studied in isolation from the other branches of linguistics.