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Introduction to Philosophy

The Philosophy of pragmatism was developed by an American philosopher and psychologist in the name of William James. It is as a response to what he had gone through with his ill health and the doubt over the idea of free will and existence of God. According to James (1907), the pragmatic method deals mainly on a kind of method that sets highly abstract thought or subjects as truth that if not given due importance would be unending and would have no limits. From the Greek word pragma (action) it can be understood that the pragmatic method needed some practice based evidences in order to define the truth or falsity of a certain word or event.

This method was trying to explain things by exposing the opposing parties to the practical events that lead to such discourse. It implies that each notion must be able to present or trace a practically different consequence that would either make the other side true or false (p. 197). I can say that the meaning of pragmatic method as what James would define it is useful in our lives. Our own definition of verifying the truth or falsity of certain words is vague. We stick to what we know that are true theoretically and neglect the fact that indeed they also could be viewed in the context of its practical applications.

Application of this method includes action like interpretation of the notion. The way you understand a certain situation leads to your own interpretation of it. After interpreting you are now able to comprehend what it tries to convey that way enabling you to have a better perspective of the problem. When you have these things done tracing the practical consequences and differences is the next thing to do wherein you can now verify whether your claim is true or false (James, 1907). These actions for me require a critical mind to be able to verify and validate the truth of a given situation.

Interpretation of things varies from individual to individual and the only unifying event is when they come up with the same practical application for the problem where clearer picture of the discourse is seen. “True idea must copy its reality” (James, 1907). This is one of the popular notions that exist today. This means that in reality a clock for example could be pictured out in our minds as it is. For me, the statement of James that truth happens in an idea means that the idea itself contains the truth.

When you encounter certain words that speak for itself the true meaning of that word is conveyed freely. The idea that the clock works for example is believed to be true and its truth need not to be verified. For example, a professor’s lecture is regulated be the time the clock would strike even if he does not know how the clock really works. He need not verify how it works for the reason that whenever there is sufficient circumstantial evidence we can say that the idea is true even without seeing it ourselves.

The concept of leading goes beyond the meaning of agreement (James, 1907). It is said that to agree also mean to copy and when applied to reality it is said to be important yet it lacks essentiality. What is essential for him is the process by which we are guided. This could be attributed to ideas which help us deal with it in practical or intellectual sense and made us adapted to the twist and turns that happen to us in reality without confusing or frustrating us. It also means being consistent and stable in every aspect.

It should not be eccentric and isolated in some sense to satisfy the leading process which is free from any contradiction and misunderstandings. Agreement as it was cited in the beginning of this paragraph would only take part in meeting those requirements (p. 199). In the context of the clock in the wall, the concept of leading for James basically means that the mere word clock could made us conclude that it would direct us from time to time to our activities and the process by which the clock guide us made us adapted to the reality and put away confusion and frustration.

In 1907, William James finally concluded that agreement aside from taking part in meeting certain requirements of leading come up as an essential affair of the later because it contain significant objects that lead to consistency and stability of human intercourse. According to James it is of practical nature that covers not only the present but also the future and mediates between past knowledge and present activities of man given that it runs smoothly in the process (p. 201). Reference James, W. (1907). Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

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