The Pragmatic Tradition is an important tradition for the development of liberatory philosophical projects. The philosophy of pragmatism emphasizes the importance of practical and social considerations. For more information about the pragmatist tradition, please see our Pragmatic Reader. This collection consists of essays written by leading philosophers and theorists in the field.
The term ‘pragmatic’ derives from the Middle French word pragma, which is derived from the Latin pragmaticus. Originally, pragmaticus meant “active” in affairs. The word pragmatic is also derived from the Greek word pragmatos, which means “practical”. Hence, pragmatic furniture is a form of pragmatic architecture.
Nevertheless, the term pragmatic can be misleading in some cases. For example, a pragmatic trial will focus on the organization of care and not necessarily on the effectiveness of the intervention. In these cases, the pragmatic trial’s domain score will be high. However, pragmatic trials are not suitable for licensing, as they are required to adhere to rigorous regulations.
The main ideas of pragmatism were originally developed in discussions among members of the Harvard Metaphysical Club in the 1870s. James popularized it through his series of public lectures in 1898. James used the word pragmatism to refer to a method, principle, or maxim. Both Peirce and James used it as a shorthand for the philosophy.
Pragmatism is gaining traction in the international arena. While its intellectual centre has traditionally been centered in North America, vibrant research networks have emerged in South America, central Europe, and China. As a result, pragmatism is now an increasingly global movement. Its benefits are immense, but the downsides of pragmatism need to be weighed against its advantages.
Pragmatic theory focuses on the practical aspects of human thought and action. It considers implied meanings, dialogue, and the use of language in interaction. It aims to give an understanding of how language works, whether the speaker is conveying a message or merely expressing a desire. Its foundations span across the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.
Pragmatism has its roots in the Greek word pragma, and is often associated with philosophers and politicians. Apel 1974, Gava 2014, and Stern 2009 trace the philosophical roots of pragmatism. Classical pragmatism developed social ideals such as equality and progress. Philosophers such as Cornel West advanced prophetic pragmatism.
Neopragmatism has also seen a revival of interest. Although it began as a post-classical materialist, Richard Rorty, a pragmatist who was influenced by Peirce, has contributed to this new movement. Rorty has been critical of classical pragmatism and has influenced neopragmatism.