What is Pragmatic Philosophy?

Pragmatic is a philosophical doctrine that promotes practical reasoning and focuses on what works and what doesn’t. The word pragmatic comes from the Latin pragmata, meaning “of or for practice”. Pragmatism was first popularized by philosophers such as Charles Sanders Peirce and William James. While many different approaches to philosophy exist, pragmatism is unique in that it is both methodologically and philosophically rigorous. This makes pragmatism a very interesting approach to philosophy and it is still widely discussed today.

Pragmatism is often characterized as an a posteriori epistemology because its proponents believe that knowledge is derived from experience rather than direct inference from logical arguments. In the early days of pragmatism, its adherents were known as pragmaticians and were part of what is called the Chicago School of philosophy. This group included the philosophers George Herbert Mead, William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Harry Angell.

The goal of pragmatism is to achieve a better understanding of the nature and development of knowledge through the study of how humans use language in their day-to-day activities. This can be done by analyzing the context of an utterance and determining its intended and unintended meanings. For example, if someone asks you to go with them to McDonalds for lunch, it is likely that they want you to be romantic and not just a friendly date. In order to determine this, it is necessary to look at the entire situation such as the tone of voice and the environment in which the utterance was made. This is an example of the process of pragmatics which is the study of the ways in which a message can be understood by its audience.

In recent times, a number of philosophers have revived pragmatism. These pragmatists differ from the classical pragmatists in that they are not interested in a priori epistemology but instead view knowledge as a dynamic, ongoing process of discovering what works and what does not. They also view language as a social tool in a way that is quite different from traditional views of the subject.

In addition, these pragmatists are more interested in a broader range of Western philosophy than the classic pragmatists. They may be found tracing Peirce’s significant debt to Kant, discussing the relationship between pragmatism and phenomenology, or examining the connections between pragmatism and hermeneutic theory. They are also attempting to place the pragmatist doctrine within its larger philosophical context, arguing, for instance, that pragmatism is a natural outgrowth of 19th century idealism (Brandom 2011). They may even be seen to incorporate aspects of liberatory projects such as feminism, ecology, and Native American philosophy into their work. In this sense, these pragmatists are sometimes referred to as New Pragmatists. This is not to say that these pragmatists are not serious about their philosophical concerns, however, since they are. They are simply attempting to find a way to bring pragmatism into the 21st century. This is a difficult task, but one which they seem to be well on their way toward completing.