pragmatism

noun prag·ma·tism \ ˈprag-mə-ˌti-zəm \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

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

pragmatist

play \ˈprag-mə-tist\ adjective or noun

pragmatistic

play \ˌprag-mə-ˈti-stik\ adjective

Examples of pragmatism in a Sentence

  1. 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 RuthvenNew York Review of Books16 Aug. 2007
  2. These are books without slogans, manuals that favor subtlety over simplicity, moderation over bombast, pragmatism over ideology. —Jonathan TeppermanNew York Times Book Review16 Oct 2005
  3. … compromise (or better yet, its spirit) symbolizes the necessary pragmatism expected of politics in a pluralist society. —Jack N. RakoveOriginal Meanings … 1996
  4. The right person for the job will balance vision with pragmatism.

Recent Examples of pragmatism from the Web

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


PRAGMATISM Defined for English Language Learners

pragmatism

noun

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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