What is Pragmatic?
Pragmatic is the study of how context influences what a speaker or author means when they use an expression. It differs from other areas of linguistic study, such as semantics, syntax, and semiotics. The difference is that pragmatics is concerned with the non-literal aspects of language and how social or physical context affects the interpretation of a particular utterance.
In general, the word pragmatic is used to describe things that are practical, reasonable, and sensible. For example, you might hear someone say that they need to be more pragmatic in their job search or in their relationships. The idea here is that someone who is more pragmatic will be more likely to consider all of the options available to them and find realistic ways to achieve their goals rather than being blinded by their ideals. However, there is a big difference between being pragmatic and being a realist. The former is usually considered to be a positive thing, while the latter is often viewed as negative.
For example, let’s say that a boy and girl are watching TV together. The boy starts talking about his new car and favorite television shows, but the girl is looking at her phone. She doesn’t listen to him, and instead grabs the remote to change the channel. The boy sees this as an innocent sharing of information, but the girl thinks it is rude and he’s monopolizing her time. In this case, the boy is being pragmatic by considering his audience and adjusting his behavior accordingly.
Other examples of pragmatics include using demonstrative adjectives, such as “these,” “that,” and “there.” The meaning of these words or phrases is totally dependent on the context. It’s a big part of why we need the dictionary to interpret slang and idioms, because the dictionary won’t give us the full meaning.
A lot of pragmatists have also emphasized the importance of understanding the cultural context of communication. This is because different cultures have different pragmatic expectations. For instance, if you’re talking to someone from another country, it’s important to know their culture so that you can understand them and they can understand you.
The classical pragmatists were Peirce, James, and Dewey. Their wide-ranging writings had a big impact on American intellectual life for a while. But after Dewey’s death, pragmatism began to lose momentum and even popularity. In the face of self-consciously rigorous imports from analytic philosophy, pragmatism just seemed out of step.
Despite its lack of popularity, pragmatism has survived and continues to influence modern philosophical thought. Although it may not be as prominent as other traditions, pragmatism has been incorporated into the work of philosophers such as Rorty, Feyerabend, and Wittgenstein. Its legacy is one that should not be overlooked. This is because, if nothing else, it has shown that ideas do matter. This has led to the development of various pragmatic theories that try to explain how concepts like truth and morality are related to a person’s worldview.