Pragmatic is the study of practical aspects of language and communication. It looks beyond semantics (which studies what a word means in a literal sense) to focus on implying meaning as well as how we manage the flow of reference in conversation.
Pragmatism is the theory that our perceptions of truth are determined by what works and how it fits with our needs and desires. It is a philosophy with roots in the work of Dewey, Mead, and James among others. It is also related to behaviorism and functionalism in psychology and sociology.
There are two main types of pragmatics: linguistic and philosophical. The linguistic pragmatics that is studied in this article is closer to the original philosophy of pragmatism than that which has more of a cynical, skeptical, or skeptical/cynical flavor. Those philosophers that have been associated with pragmatism have a more utilitarian approach to life and the pursuit of truth. Their goal is to have the best possible outcome in all of their endeavors and to be sure that their beliefs fit with the world around them.
For example, a person who is pragmatic may have extra keys made (which they often leave with family or friends) just in case something goes wrong with their car. They are more concerned with what will happen than what could or should be. Pragmatics is not a popular philosophy among those that are highly moral, as many of the flaws of pragmatism would be seen as unacceptable in a moral context.
While it may not be possible to get a complete picture of what is actually happening in the world, pragmatism allows us to make informed choices and act accordingly. As a philosophy, it also teaches us to be open to new information that might change our perceptions of what is true or not. It is a form of skepticism, but not the extreme kind that is called scientific skepticism.
One of the major problems with pragmatism is that it can become a form of relativism, especially when applied to ethics and morality. For example, the idea that “Whatever works” is a good moral principle can be used to justify any number of things that might harm someone else, as long as they “work.” It is also easy to see how pragmatism collapses when applied to matters of faith and spirituality.
Another way that pragmatism fails is when it does not acknowledge that some utterances have only one meaning, and other utterances can have several different meanings. A good example of this is the statement “I have two sons.” While this is definitely a true statement, it can be interpreted as meaning that the speaker has no more than two sons or that the speaker has only daughters. The second interpretation is more likely and is what the speaker intends to mean by this utterance. However, this is not the only ambiguity that can arise. Pragmatics takes into account all of the context of an utterance to determine its true meaning.