What is Pragmatic Philosophy?
Pragmatic is an attitude or philosophy that emphasizes practicality over idealistic views. It is important to remember that pragmatism is not a complete belief system, but rather a way of thinking. You can be a pragmatic person and still believe in some things that are not proven scientifically or in other belief systems, as long as they have some validity and are useful to you. Being pragmatic also allows you to change your beliefs if they don’t work for you anymore, rather than sticking to them out of fear or tradition.
A number of philosophical movements can be considered pragmatist, including feminism, ecology and Native American philosophy. The pragmatist view is also becoming a popular approach for many research methods. It provides a framework for analyzing the action-based knowledge of respondents and helps researchers identify complex themes that might otherwise be missed in formal documentation or rhetoric. This is especially useful for NGOs where processes are often not documented or well-understood by staff.
The term “pragmatic” is derived from the Latin phrase meaning, “to make good.” Pragmatism can be compared to an architect’s blueprint; it provides guidance on how to build a structure. The pragmatist research process is similar to the construction of an actual building, as it requires both quantitative and qualitative elements.
The pragmatist mindset can be beneficial for business, as it encourages flexible thinking and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. The pragmatist believes that what is useful and valuable in one context may not be suitable for another context, and that the success of an organization depends on its ability to adjust. This philosophy can also be applied to interpersonal relationships.
Semantics, syntax and semiotics are linguistic studies that are related to pragmatics, but have different definitions. Semantics deals with the rules that determine the literal linguistic meanings of expressions; syntax addresses how words are combined to form sentences; and semiotics explores the use of signs and symbols. Pragmatics includes both the linguistic and non-linguistic aspects of communication, as well as how physical or social contexts influence the meaning of a particular expression.
Have you ever been in a situation where your gesture was misunderstood? For example, an innocent hand gesture that means stop in the United States might be highly offensive in Greece. This is a common example of how cultural differences can cause misunderstandings that could be avoided if you are pragmatic.
Being a pragmatist will help you see that there are often multiple truths and that it is more important to focus on what works for you in your life. Whether it’s a belief system or even a simple gesture, it is a good idea to know how people in other cultures interpret your actions so that you don’t end up offending anyone unintentionally. It’s also helpful to understand that what was useful or true in the past might not be so now, and it is OK to accept new ideas and beliefs if they are more useful to you.