What is Pragmatics?


Pragmatics, a linguistic discipline, is an area of study that investigates language and the social context in which it is used. It is one of the youngest of the linguistic disciplines.

Traditionally, pragmatics was associated with philosophers such as Charles Sanders Pierce and John Dewey. Today, it is a multidisciplinary field of study that spans the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.

Definition of Pragmatics

A pragmatist is someone who is practical and realistic in his or her approach to problems. For example, a four-year-old who wants a unicorn for his birthday is not being very pragmatic.

The concept of pragmatism originated in the Greek pragma, which means “deed” or “act.” It has been used to describe a person or an idea that takes a realistic approach and does what works best.

In a broader sense, pragmatism is an approach to philosophy that focuses on the practicality of ideas and how they are applied in the real world. It also involves looking at the value of ideas in a given situation, and prioritizing useful knowledge over unhelpful or abstract knowledge.

The history of pragmatism can be traced back to the 1870s and the work of Charles Sanders Pierce and John Dewey. It was an important part of American philosophical culture for a half-century until the arrival of modernism.

The second major influence on pragmatism was British empiricism, which stressed the role of experience in the creation of knowledge. This led to the work of such pragmatists as Charles Peirce and William James. Eventually, this tradition was superseded by the more rigorous import of analytic philosophy.