The Importance of Pragmatics in Teaching Philosophy
Pragmatics is a branch of linguistics that focuses on language and how people use it to convey meaning in social situations. Its main principles revolve around the literal and non-literal aspects of language and the social and physical contexts in which they are used. It was first coined by psychologist Charles Morris in the 1930s, and was developed as a subfield of linguistics in the 1970s.
While the basic principles of pragmatics are similar, there are differences in the way people speak, think, and behave. Cultures vary significantly, and these differences can make it difficult to understand what is being said. For example, one way to communicate with someone is to hold their hand up with the palm facing away, which is known as the “stop sign.” However, in Greece, this gesture is considered highly insulting.
Pragmatic educators value flexibility in their teaching methods. They leverage student interests while emphasizing problem-solving and real-world situations. For this reason, understanding pragmatism is essential to effectively teach. It also promotes diversity. Hence, understanding pragmatism is essential to effective teaching philosophy.
The intellectual centre of pragmatism is shifting away from North America and is extending into South America, Scandinavia, central Europe, and China. As a result, pragmatism is achieving a new international identity. As such, it is attracting a broad range of researchers from across the globe.
A key role in pragmatist philosophy is the role of language. The pragmatists have a strong interest in language, but this is not the only function of language. The pragmatist philosopher Robert Brandom’s work draws on the philosophy of language and semantics.
One of the flaws of pragmatism is that it is subject to a great deal of criticism. It is also easily debunked. Because of its limited scope of knowledge, pragmatism is prone to generating false conclusions. Additionally, it lacks moral power. In other words, pragmatism is just a less polished version of relativism.
The roots of pragmatics can be traced to antiquity. In fact, rhetoric was once considered one of the three liberal arts. However, the modern idea of pragmatics developed between 1780 and 1830 in Britain, France, and Germany. During that period, linguists began to discuss language and how it works in social situations.
A wide range of scholarly works have been written on the subject. In addition to Borradori, G., and R. Westbrook. (Eds.) ‘The American Philosopher’.’ Both books are essential readings for any student of philosophy. Although this list is not comprehensive, it provides some examples of what makes Pragmatism so valuable.
A major framework in pragmatics is relevance theory. It is derived from Grice’s ideas about implicature, and states that each utterance contains enough relevant information to be understood.