Pragmatism in Philosophy
Developed in the United States around 1870, pragmatism offers a third alternative to analytic and ‘Continental’ philosophy. Pragmatism combines the concepts of science and experience to provide a rich understanding of the world. Its main ideas originated in discussions in the Harvard Metaphysical Club around 1870. In recent decades, however, the pragmatist tradition has been criticized for its under-appreciation of value theory.
Charles Sanders Peirce was one of the first American pragmatists. His work on the concept of truth was groundbreaking and he argued that it was an important concept for science. He wrote many papers in this field and has a number of books.
Some of his major works include Truth and Justification (translated by B. Fultner) and A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy (Routledge). Other texts are a book on pragmatism by E.K. Suckiel and a history of pragmatism by J.J. Stuhr.
Robert Brandom is another philosopher who has made significant contributions to neopragmatism. His work is based on the idea that semantics and linguistic meaning are essential to an understanding of language. He also discusses the relationship between saying and doing. He owes his work to a number of classical pragmatists, but also owes more to historical readings in Kant.
The most basic function of pragmatism is to offer a method of judging things. For instance, a pragmatist might say that we should consider our intentions when we use language. They might argue that a sentence’s structure is not as important as the way it is used. This is because the purpose of language is to communicate. In other words, a pragmatist understands that a good roadmap explains how the problem is solved and what it should look like. This is true whether the problem is a bad product or a disastrous political policy.
A pragmatist’s epistemology is one of the most ambitious claims made at the turn of the 21st century. Richard Rorty’s attacks on representationalism and classical pragmatism spawned neopragmatism. Other pragmatists have responded to Rorty’s critiques and have tried to rehabilitate the classical pragmatists.
There are also more recent developments in pragmatism. In this field, Noam Chomsky introduced the term “pragmatic competence.” This term relates our purposes to the linguistic means we use. It is an integral part of the science of natural language processing.
There is also a vibrant research network forming in Scandinavia, China and central Europe. Using pragmatism as its focal point, these groups are developing problem-centered pedagogy. This is structured around a cycle of inquiry – beginning with gathering data, articulating the problem, suggesting hypotheses, testing the hypotheses, and finally resolving the problematic situation.
In addition to the pragmatism of Peirce and James, neopragmatism has made contributions to a variety of fields. These range from the philosophy of language to ethics to the theory of religion. Some pragmatists have devoted their work to rehabilitating classical pragmatism, while others have sought to reposition pragmatism in the broader context of Western philosophy.