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What is the value of pragmatism?

Pragmatic is a word that is usually used to mean practical. Nonetheless, William James works on this idea and denotes a philosophical method or approach using ‘pragmatic’ as the central concept. The method of pragmatism is used to discover instrumental ad practical truths among several issues. William James believes that truth is something that ought to be ‘useful’ to the person. Therefore, the value of truth resides on the person or the believer and its role in a particular belief system.

The value of truth inevitably undermines the function of a certain idea or belief in the person’s life. The truthfulness of a certain belief would be recognizable and acceptable if everyone can apply it in the long run. This means that pragmatism is applied by looking into the benefits or ‘cash-value’ and applicability that goes along with a particular belief to determine its truthfulness. Why does Camus say we must imagine Sisyphus to be happy? Camus stated that we must ‘imagine Sisyphus to be happy’ to be able to understand happiness.

Sisyphus was punished by the Gods with a task of pushing a boulder to the top of the hill. However, this ask was never completed because every time Sisyphus succeed, the boulder or rock would roll back to the bottom and Sisyphus could do nothing but to watch it roll down and repeat the task again. Camus believes that humans are in the same situation. Sisyphus had accepted his fate and his life –being absurd, if he is not happy then happiness is something that is not real because it defies reality of life.

Nevertheless, if Sisyphus is happy, then happiness is real since it conveys the understanding of the reality of life. The realization of Sisyphus of his fate and his life will lead to his happiness since he will no longer feel tormented. What does Sartre mean by freedom of choice? Why does he say that with freedom comes responsibility for ourselves and for others? To be free is to have the ability to project oneself towards an end, as can be interpreted from the discussion of freedom by Sartre. Freedom of choice does not necessarily entail success but merely the act of choice.

Sartre believes that freedom is something that precedes existence therefore existence is seen as something that is a product of freedom of choice. Sartre states that ‘existence precedes essence’. It explains that existence does not have any meaning at first; the essence is gained through the exercise of freedom. Sartre also believes that although individuals are free they do not have the freedom not be free. Sartre explains he ‘the for-itself’ is in itself the state of freedom and therefore cannot choose freedom’.

With freedom comes responsibility indicates the fact that an individual creates his life (essence) through exercising freedom of choice. Therefore, one cannot blame anything or anyone else for whatever happens to himself. Nonetheless, human actions can be bounded or restricted by others and vice versa. Therefore, an individual’s action can affect other people. This means that an individual must consider other people, aside from himself, in exercising his freedom. Works Cited: Author. Lecture notes on Philosophy. 2008.

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