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From Ancient Greek stem of πρᾶγμα (prâgma, act) + -ism.



pragmatism (countable and uncountable, plural pragmatisms)

  1. The pursuit of practicality over aesthetic qualities; a concentration on facts rather than emotions or ideals.
  2. (politics) The theory that political problems should be met with practical solutions rather than ideological ones.
  3. (philosophy) The idea that beliefs are identified with the actions of a believer, and the truth of beliefs with success of those actions in securing a believer's goals; the doctrine that ideas must be looked at in terms of their practical effects and consequences.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 378:
      Our conception of these practical consequences is for us the whole of our conception of the object [...] This is the principle of Peirce, the principle of pragmatism.


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