What Is Pragmatic Philosophy?

Pragmatic is the philosophy that focuses on how something works, rather than what could or should be. It is often seen as a response to the correspondence theory of truth, which claims that if something sounds right or makes sense, it must be true. Classic pragmatists such as Dewey and James argued that the truth of a hypothesis was determined by how well it worked. This stance is easy to caricature and traduce, but James and other pragmatists developed subtle interpretations of utility that are a useful alternative to the correspondence theory.

The term ‘pragmatic’ is also used to describe the underlying philosophical approach of a person, which can be seen as the way they go about life and deal with problems. The way in which a person thinks, acts and decides is said to be pragmatic, and this can be a very effective and satisfying method of living. This approach to life, though, isn’t for everyone, and people who are not pragmatic will often find that their lives are difficult.

One of the most interesting and important aspects of pragmatism is that it is a method that is flexible enough to be applied in any field of inquiry. For example, pragmatists have contributed to the philosophical discussions of the nature and value of science, social and political issues and even art. In addition, pragmatist ideas have been widely adapted to practical applications in fields such as psychology and medicine.

For example, the concept of functional behavioral therapy is based on pragmatism and has proved to be successful in helping people to change their behavior in ways that will improve their lives. In this respect, pragmatism has been an important influence on the development of contemporary healthcare.

Moreover, the pragmatist approach to philosophical discussion is particularly suited to questions that are open to both empirical and rational analysis. This means that it is able to accommodate the views of a wide range of different philosophical traditions, including empiricism and naturalism.

The philosophy of pragmatism was originally conceived in the United States by two Harvard-educated intellectuals: Charles Sanders Peirce, a logician and mathematical scientist; and William James, a psychologist and moral philosopher. Both of these individuals had a strong interest in how human beings interact with each other and the world around them.

Later, pragmatism was influenced by the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, and it gained increasing prominence in American philosophical circles. However, by the end of the 19th century, pragmatism was in danger of being eclipsed by a new generation of self-consciously rigorous imports: Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein were making their mark on analytic philosophy. As a result, many of the influential classical pragmatists found themselves becoming increasingly marginalized. Nevertheless, the pragmatist tradition is still alive today and continues to provide a valuable alternative to the received forms of contemporary philosophy. It has become the philosophical home of a number of liberatory projects in fields such as feminism, ecology, Native American philosophy and Latin America.