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
Thatcher’s pragmatism can also be seen in her devotion to diplomacy.
Maybe there's peace of mind in giving yourself a break and allowing that some of your preference for order is just normal pragmatism and not all a consequence of parental absurdity.
Maybe there's peace of mind in giving yourself a break, and allowing that some of your preference for order is just normal pragmatism and not all a consequence of parental absurdity.
Maybe there’s peace of mind in giving yourself a break and allowing that some of your preference for order is just normal pragmatism, and not all a consequence of parental absurdity.
The impasse between the Senate and the Assembly is born of principle and political pragmatism.
The collection mixed both romanticism and pragmatism.
While the DUP is a staunchly ideological party, its record in Northern Ireland shows pragmatism and political cunning.
Their annexation was a product of pragmatism as well as politics, and there were winners and losers on both sides.
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.
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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