Definition of pragmatism
1 : a practical approach to problems and affairs tried to strike a balance between principles and pragmatism
2 : 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
pragmatistplay \-mə-tist\ adjective or noun
pragmatisticplay \ˌprag-mə-ˈtis-tik\ adjective
Examples of pragmatism in a Sentence
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
The right person for the job will balance vision with pragmatism.
Recent Examples of pragmatism from the Web
The race is shaping up to be a choice between pragmatism and passion — and echoes the divide within the party nationally.
At home, the test of Mr. Macron’s own pragmatism will come soon.
Leaders could display pragmatism, persistence, and patience.
As the show's survivors run from place to place, beating back threat after escalating threat, Maggie has become a touchstone for humanity and pragmatism in an increasingly ruthless narrative.
Politicians are local and thus more inclined to pragmatism and constructive action.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pragmatism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of pragmatism
First Known Use: circa 1864
PRAGMATISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pragmatism for English Language Learners
: 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
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