Posts tagged ‘pragmatism’

September 21, 2013

Truth and pragmatism

by Neil Rickert

I have been intending to post on this topic.  Now my hand has been “forced.”  Sabio Lantz has a post:

at his blog, and there he displays a graph with usefulness (i.e. pragmatism) on one axis, and with accuracy (i.e. truth) on the other axis.  I responded in a comment, saying that those two (usefulness and accuracy) are not orthogonal.  My point appears to have not been understood.  So this post will attempt to flesh out the details.


To a first approximation, pragmatism amounts to making decisions on the basis of their usefulness.  We all make pragmatic decisions from time to time.  A person is often described as a pragmatist if that person is seen as taking usefulness as the most important criterion in decision making.  I doubt that anybody is a pure pragmatist, in the sense of only making decisions on a pragmatic basis.

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