What is Pragmatics?


Pragmatics is the study of how people use language to communicate with each other. It is based on the idea that people have different communicative intentions and employ different strategies to convey those intentions.

Pragmatists focus on how people use language and how they understand their own communication in different situations. They also believe that people should be able to express their feelings accurately so they can solve problems and build relationships with others.

Definition of Pragmatics

In philosophy, pragmatism refers to the ideas and theories developed by Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and other prominent American philosophers. The pragmatist movement was a major philosophical development in the United States, beginning with a group of Harvard students called the Metaphysical Club.

Early pragmatists largely split over the extent to which realism should be an integral part of their epistemological outlook. For Charles Peirce, realism entailed the idea that the truth of a proposition is the result of its verification (the “Pragmatic Maxim”).

For William James and John Dewey, realism entailed a more broad-based concept of reality that embraced a variety of ways that ideas could be verified in the real world.

While pragmatism was once a popular philosophy, it began to decline in popularity as analytic philosophy emerged during the 20th century. However, it has continued to be a source of inspiration for some liberatory philosophical projects in areas such as feminism, ecology, Native American philosophy, and Latin American philosophy.