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: a reasonable and logical way of doing things or of thinking about problems that is based on dealing with specific situations instead of on ideas and theories
Full Definition of PRAGMATISM
: a practical approach to problems and affairs <tried to strike a balance between principles and pragmatism>
: an American movement in philosophy founded by C. S. Peirce and William James and marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief
The right person for the job will balance vision with pragmatism.
To put it rather more crudely, he is trying to sell his integrationist and reformist agenda using traditionalist legal wrappings. It is, of course, this pragmatism, which sometimes comes across as slippery casuistry, that so annoys his critics. —Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books, 16 Aug. 2007
These are books without slogans, manuals that favor subtlety over simplicity, moderation over bombast, pragmatism over ideology. —Jonathan Tepperman, New York Times Book Review, 16 Oct 2005
… compromise (or better yet, its spirit) symbolizes the necessary pragmatism expected of politics in a pluralist society. —Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings …, 1996
Philosophical movement first given systematic expression by Charles Sanders Peirce and William James and later taken up and transformed by John Dewey. Pragmatists emphasize the practical function of knowledge as an instrument for adapting to reality and controlling it. Pragmatism agrees with empiricism in its emphasis on the priority of experience over a priori reasoning. Whereas truth had traditionally been explained in terms of correspondence with reality or in terms of coherence (seecoherentism), pragmatism holds that truth is to be found in the process of verification. Pragmatists interpret ideas as instruments and plans of action rather than as images of reality; more specifically, they are suggestions and anticipations of possible conduct, hypotheses or forecasts of what will result from a given action, or ways of organizing behaviour. See alsoW.V.O. Quine; Richard Rorty.