Pragmatics is the study of practical aspects of human thought. It focuses on language as an instrument of interaction. Besides the literal meaning of an idea, pragmatics also takes into account the implied meaning of a given idea. The implied meaning is the result of the speaker’s interactions with the listener. In some cases, the implied meaning might be insignificant.
Pragmatics is a specialized branch of linguistics. This field examines the practical meaning of signs, as well as the relationship between natural language and the users of that language.
To illustrate, let’s consider the utterance “I have two sons.” Suppose a boy is trying to say, “My parents aren’t very nice. They should stop smoking.” He may be trying to convey an impolite message, but the speaker does not understand what he is saying. On the other hand, if the same boy greets his parents by saying, “It’s really unhealthy in here,” he will understand the context of the sentence.
Another pragmatist philosopher, Robert Brandom, focuses on semantics and pragmatic vocabularies. Brandom is not as influenced by the classical pragmatists as he is by Richard Rorty and Wilfrid Sellars. Instead, he is more influenced by Kant and historical readings.
For instance, Robert Brandom argues that “experience” is not a word. His main goal is to understand the nexus between’saying’ and ‘doing.’ And he thinks that’saying’ is important, because words have the power to convey useful information.
Another major pragmatist philosopher, Jurgen Habermas, makes a number of significant contributions to philosophy. His central concept, communicative action, has been applied to a variety of fields, including law, religion, and ethics. Among his many achievements, Habermas has developed a discourse ethics free of distortions of ideology and power.
Other pragmatist scholars include Charles Sanders Peirce, George Herbert Mead, William James, Alain Locke, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although pragmatism originated in the United States in the 1870s, it is now gaining in popularity in other countries. Especially in South America and Europe, research networks are forming.
Pragmatics is an essential feature of our understanding of language. If we did not have it, there would be no way to tell what the meaning of a given utterance is. Moreover, without a pragmatist, there would be no understanding of the difference between a literal and a nonliteral meaning of a word.
One of the most important things about pragmatism is that it gives priority to useful knowledge over certain kinds of knowledge. Pragmatists consider things to be true if they have some useful applications, but they drop old ideas when they become less useful. As a result, the intellectual centre of gravity of pragmatism is moving from the United States to Europe and elsewhere.
Pragmatics is a powerful tool, but only when applied properly. For example, if a pragmatist believes that a statement, such as “I have two sons,” is accurate, she should ignore any doubts or fears about her conclusion. However, if she does not believe that statement, she should not drop the idea entirely, or try to prove it with an unprovable argument.