The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

In this blog post, we will talk about the importance of the pragmatist philosophy in our daily lives. We describe pragmatic people and how pragmatism can be useful in our daily lives.

What does it mean to be a pragmatist?

Pragmatism translates into results orientation, being proactive, firm, determined and willing to take action quickly. The pragmatists do not know the constant fear that they might not succeed but channel their energy to find solutions to the obstacles they encounter.

The modern world, so-called “free”, considers pragmatism as one of the fundamental virtues of the individual, and this perspective, deeply dystrophic, is today so ingrained in the collective consciousness that you find it on all levels of society. Nothing escapes it and no one can escape it. 

The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

Parents want their children to be as “pragmatic” as possible, considering that in this way “they will do better in life”. Politicians invoke pragmatism as a kind of ultimate attribute of competence. In everyday life, everyone wants to be as applied as possible, to solve problems and, therefore, to be as pragmatic as possible. 

The only ones who can afford not to adopt a so-called pragmatic behaviour are the VIPs, but the paradox is that the mechanisms of today’s society and the levers of consumerism make VIPs to be, in reality, among the most pragmatic characters on the planet.  You cannot access the stage of important public personality without being pragmatic to the bone. 

VIPs who adopt a visibly anti-pragmatic, non-conformist behaviour do so for the most pragmatic and mercantile reasons possible: it’s marketing and nothing else! 

Capitalism, for example, has raised pragmatism to the rank of primordial human value, based on very simple reasoning: pragmatism means efficiency, practical utility, it means solving problems. It means supply and demand. It means… market!

In the usual sense, as it is invoked and seen today by the vast majority of people, pragmatism remains, say, a relatively recent concept. It is related to the second half of the 20th century and the 21st century, rather than to other eras.

 It has little in common even with the “pragmatism” of C. S. Pierce, which linked anti-Cartesian pragmatism to doubt and especially to the search, by scientific methods, for the truth. However, to put the equal sign between useful and truth is, forgiven to be my impudence, a proof of absolute imbecility!

If pragmatism expresses something, then it certainly expresses the ultimate, irreducible equality between what is useful and the truth. 

The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

Everything that is not useful, in use, is non-existent. And since money exists and quantifies everything in modern society, that is, everything that can be defined as useful and usable, it automatically follows that pragmatism is one of the characteristics of the individual that allows the existence and perpetuation of the concept of marketing ad infinitum. 

It sounds hilarious, but today the most pragmatic people on the planet are marketing experts, politicians, bankers, businessmen. They all have a greater or lesser connection with marketing, with the market. A firefighter cannot be pragmatic. He’s just a firefighter. A mechanic has nothing to do with marketing. The fact that he pours metal into a certain mould does not entitle him to reclaim his status as a pragmatic man. 

The doctor cannot be pragmatic either. He fixes people, he’s not pragmatic. In essence, neither the firefighter, nor the doctor, nor the mechanic can be pragmatic, unless they can quantify in such a way the work they do so that its results are so useful that they can be transposed into the laws of demand, and of supply, ie in the laws of marketing. 

For the firefighter or the doctor to become pragmatic, they need something extra: to translate what they do or know how to do into necessarily n profitable market values. That is, to sell and buy profitably. To become entrepreneurs. To make a profit. Pragmatism, in the modern world, is invariably associated with the idea of profit, through its very content.

But the pragmatism of modern man has another quality. It’s realistic. It has no illusions. It has nothing to do with imagination. And when he has to deal with the imagination, however, he does it stereotypically, repeating verified formulas and recipes, long-used and producing… all profit. 

Marketing is just a sum of recipes, of stereotypes meant to produce a profit. What is not profitable is failed marketing. Failed imagination. Utility failed. A failed pragmatist is the most detestable example in our society. Even more frightening. Are you surprised that declining profits are the biggest fear of an employer? He is a realist, he has no illusions. 

Pragmatism always forces him to win, whether he does it in the long, medium or short term. The idea is to win anyway, under any conditions. In the ridiculous field of morality, pragmatism cuts and destroys everything. If it is gained at any cost, it means that the moral norm is useless, inapplicable, derisory, obsolete. 

To be a pragmatic man today means, above all, to be outside morality. From the pragmatic, morality is a burden, absurd imprisonment, an impermissible limitation. I can’t stand the moral norm to get what I want! – is the basic saying of the pragmatist. After all, business is business!

The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

How can the pragmatist philosophy be useful in our daily lives

Pragmatism is an ability to continually reinvent yourself, to adapt to change. Like anything else, pragmatism is learned. They are educated and trained over time. More precisely, it is modelled. 

In other words, we see it in others, admire it, and then, almost involuntarily, choose to copy it. Nothing wrong with that! It is even advisable to imitate the successful people we admire! I would say it is the fastest and most effective way to educate yourself. 

One area we all go through in life is the education system, which seems extremely devoid of pragmatism. It is common to meet young people who have studied a foreign language in school for 8 years, without being able to use it. That is, they spent about 64 hours a year, a total of over 500 hours in 8 years – grades V-XII, with an efficiency close to zero. 

At the same time, others are taking an intensive course and want to learn. After less than 100 hours, they can already communicate in a foreign language. The differences are not so much in their ability to learn, but especially in their motivation and the pragmatism of the system used by the teacher.

 If a teacher takes his salary, regardless of the results, a private company that gives a low yield can lose all its customers. It can be about surviving in a free market.

This is just one example in which pragmatism is applied in everyday life, another being sports, where pragmatism can make the difference between a mediocre athlete and an extremely good and well-rated one. The chance of a footballer to miss a shot is the highest if he refuses to shoot. If he shoots, there is a relatively high chance of missing. But if he avoids, postpones or hesitates continuously to shoot at the goal, the failure is already certain. The relatively small chance of scoring disappears completely if the attitude is to avoid.

In other words, if you surround yourself with tigers, in time you will receive some of their courage. And if you stay among the chickens, you were born an eagle in vain, because you will be afraid to fly. 

The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

Conclusion

In this blog post, we talked about the importance of the pragmatist philosophy in our daily lives. We described pragmatic people and how pragmatism can be useful in our daily lives.

Pragmatism translates into results orientation, being proactive, firm, determined and willing to take action quickly. The pragmatists do not know the constant fear that they might not succeed but channel their energy to find solutions to the obstacles they encounter.

Pragmatism is an ability to continually reinvent yourself, to adapt to change. Like anything else, pragmatism is learned. They are educated and trained over time. More precisely, it is modelled. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ about the pragmatist philosophy

What is a pragmatic person?

A pragmatic person is someone who has focused rather on reality and facts and consequences than on the imaginary world. Politicians invoke pragmatism as a kind of ultimate attribute of competence. In everyday life, everyone wants to be as applied as possible, to solve problems and, therefore, to be as pragmatic as possible. 

What is the opposite of pragmatist?

The opposite of a pragmatist could be an idealistic person. Someone who spends a lot of time thinking and daydreaming on how things are supposed to be. 

What is the difference between a pragmatist and a realist?

The difference between a pragmatist and a realist is that the latter accepts the situation as it is, while the pragmatist values the consequences of a certain fact and makes it “his teacher”.

Is being called pragmatic a compliment?

Being called a pragmatic is can be considered a compliment, as it means that you have common sense and people trust you that you know how and you will get things done. 

Is being pragmatic good?

Yes, being a pragmatics person is considered to be a good trait. Pragmatism is an ability to continually reinvent yourself, to adapt to change. Is a quality that many admire.

Who is the most famous pragmatist?

Perhaps the most famous pragmatist was Charles Sanders Peirce, who was credited for the philosophical movement, along with William James and John Dewey.

Further reading

Pragmatism: An Introduction, by Dr Michael Bacon 

The Cambridge Companion to Pragmatism (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy), by Alan Malachowski

Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking, William James

Pragmatism and the Wide View of Democracy,  by Roberto Frega

The Pragmatism Reader: From Pierce through the Present, by Robert B. Talisse  

References

Plato.stanford.edu

Iep.utm.edu

Stanford.library.sydney.edu.au

Tandfonline.com

The Pragmatist Philosophy (Everything you need to know)

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.