What is Pragmatic Philosophy?

Pragmatic is a term used to describe how people interpret and use language in real-life situations. It’s important to know what pragmatics is because it can help us understand why people sometimes say things that are ambiguous or misleading.

In general, pragmatists were most critical of moral and metaphysical doctrines that relegate change to the bottom tier of human values. They believed that knowledge is not an absolute, but a tool for adapting to and controlling reality. The pragmatists also sought to make meaning more predictive than descriptive, emphasizing the importance of context in determining an utterance’s meaning.

A number of philosophers have contributed to the development of pragmatism. The most prominent are William James (1842-1910), C. S. Peirce (1839-1914), and John Dewey (1859-1952). There is no one-size-fits-all creed of pragmatist thinking, nor is there a clear list of essential pragmatist tenets endorsed by all pragmatists. Nevertheless, some enduring themes and theses have loomed large in the pragmatist tradition.

As a philosophical movement, pragmatism was influenced by sociology and anthropology. For example, John Morris, an American philosopher and editor of the Pragmatism Cybrary, drew on his background in those fields when he laid out his theory of pragmatics. Morris’s anthropological background helped him understand how human communication involves more than just words. It involves the subtle movements, gestures, and tone of voice that accompany speech.

Likewise, the sociologist and psychologist George Herbert Mead was influential in pragmatism. He wrote extensively about the relationship between society and culture. Mead’s work was rooted in anthropology and sociology, but it also incorporated elements of philosophy and psychology. Mead and Morris helped develop a theory of pragmatics that incorporates the full range of social signs that communicate an utterance’s meaning.

The linguistic pragmatics that developed out of Morris’s work is known as far-side pragmatics, and it was his idea of the role of pragmatic implication in determining an utterance’s semantics that is most widely accepted. His concept of pragmatics can be seen as the beginning of the transition from a philosophy-based to a linguistic and psychological pragmatics.

As a result of this transition, there is now a more formal linguistic pragmatics called near-side pragmatics that deals with how the semantics of an utterance are determined. This type of pragmatics has more in common with logical pragmatics than with classical semantics, which treats propositional content as either true or false. There are many other ways that pragmatics is studied, including in the field of computer science. Computational pragmatics, for example, seeks to understand how to best help computers interpret ambiguous information in context. This can be applied to problems such as reference resolution, a key component of natural language processing, which is an area of artificial intelligence that attempts to mimic the way humans process and communicate. In addition, pragmatics is also an integral part of the field of Speech-Language Pathology. Pragmatic language skills can be impaired in children and adults with communication disorders, such as apraxia of speech and stuttering.