in·​stru·​men·​tal·​ism | \ ˌin(t)-strə-ˈmen-tᵊl-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce instrumentalism (audio) \

Definition of instrumentalism

: a doctrine that ideas are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth

Examples of instrumentalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Doubtless not a few of them harbor a special disdain for American Evangelicalism, with its gaudy, prosperous instrumentalism. James Wood, The New Yorker, "Does Knowing God Just Take Practice?," 2 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instrumentalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of instrumentalism

1904, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of instrumentalism was in 1904

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Statistics for instrumentalism

Last Updated

9 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Instrumentalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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