Pragmatics is the study of how people use language to communicate with others. It also includes the study of how people take social and cultural context into account when using language.
The earliest pragmatists are often referred to as “the classical pragmatists” and include Peirce, James, and Dewey. They developed a variety of ways of criticizing and challenging Cartesian ideas about the mind.
Some of the earliest pragmatists were also philosophers of science, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, who wrote a series of essays that questioned the prevailing assumption that all knowledge is based on scientific theory. Other pragmatists, such as Karl Popper, Nelson Goodman, and Thomas Kuhn, argued against positivist orthodoxy in analytic philosophy.
Many pragmatists believed that the Cartesian view of the mind was not only unreal but also incompatible with human reality. They advocated a realistic, practical approach to philosophy.
There are a number of different ways to define pragmatics, but the most common definition is that it is the science of the relationship between signs and their interpreters (or users). This is contrasted with semantics, which studies the relationship between a sign and its objects, and syntax, which examines the relationships among words or other symbols.
Pragmatics is a complex and multidisciplinary field. It involves a wide range of topics, methods, and perspectives that have been explored by a diverse group of scholars over the last forty years or so.
The field of experimental pragmatics emerged in the 1970s as psychologists and linguists began to investigate how people use their language in their daily lives, as opposed to traditional approaches in psycholinguistics that focused on the individual processes of lexical, syntactic, and semantic meaning. It is a field that has received a certain amount of criticism from within linguistics and psychology, but it continues to grow and develop with the help of innovative researchers.