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Definition of "pragmatism" [prag•ma•tism]

  • Philosophy A movement consisting of varying but associated theories, originally developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James and distinguished by the doctrine that the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences. (noun)
  • A practical, matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or of solving problems. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "pragmatism" in a sentence
  • "Although they continued to refer back to Peirce's 1878 paper as the source of pragmatism, and they continued to regard concepts and hypotheses as functioning as instruments, they did not always think of ˜pragmatism™ as denoting ˜the principle of Peirce™."
  • "I wish it might do so; for its author admits all MY essential contentions, simply distinguishing my account of truth as 'modified' pragmatism from Schiller's and Dewey's, which he calls pragmatism of the 'radical' sort."
  • "But in fact I wholeheartedly endorse Rohan's critical pragmatism; indeed, this kind of pragmatism is at the very core of my philosophy of criticism, along with John Dewey's insistence that it is the aesthetic experience of literature that is the immediate object of critical appreciation, an experience that can be satisfied in a multitude of ways."