Practical vs. Pragmatic

By Jaxson

  • Practical

    Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that began in the United States around 1870. Its origins are often attributed to the philosophers William James, John Dewey, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Peirce later described it in his pragmatic maxim: “Consider the practical effects of the objects of your conception. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object.”

    Pragmatism considers thought as an instrument or tool for prediction, problem solving and action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. The philosophy of pragmatism “emphasizes the practical application of ideas by acting on them to actually test them in human experiences”. Pragmatism focuses on a “changing universe rather than an unchanging one as the Idealists, Realists and Thomists had claimed”.

  • Practical (noun)

    A part of an exam or series of exams in which the candidate has to demonstrate their practical ability

  • Practical (adjective)

    Based on practice or action rather than theory or hypothesis

    “Jack didn’t get an engineering degree, but has practical knowledge of metalworking.”

  • Practical (adjective)

    Being likely to be effective and applicable to a real situation; able to be put to use

    “Jack’s knowledge has the practical benefit of giving us useful prototype parts.”

  • Practical (adjective)

    Of a person, having skills or knowledge that are practical

    “All in all, Jack’s a very practical chap.”

  • Pragmatic (adjective)

    Practical, concerned with making decisions and actions that are useful in practice, not just theory.

    “The sturdy furniture in the student lounge was pragmatic, but unattractive.”

  • Pragmatic (adjective)

    philosophical; dealing with causes, reasons, and effects, rather than with details and circumstances; said of literature.

  • Practical (adjective)

    of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas

    “there are two obvious practical applications of the research”

  • Practical (adjective)

    (of an idea, plan, or method) likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible

    “neither of these strategies are practical for smaller businesses”

  • Practical (adjective)

    suitable for a particular purpose

    “a practical, stylish kitchen”

  • Practical (adjective)

    (of a person) sensible and realistic in their approach to a situation or problem

    “I’m merely being practical—we must find a ground-floor flat”

  • Practical (adjective)

    (of a person) skilled at manual tasks

    “Steve’ll fix it—he’s quite practical”

  • Practical (adjective)

    so nearly the case that it can be regarded as so; virtual

    “for all practical purposes, she’s his girlfriend”

  • Practical (noun)

    an examination or lesson in which theories and procedures learned are applied to the actual making or doing of something.

Oxford Dictionary

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