• Judaka
    366
    What do you think the relationship is between these two things and which one should have a greater influence over the other?

    I am not referring to contexts where pragmatism and ideals may enter into conflict. I am talking about how a pragmatist may evaluate his values by how useful they are but also must understand utility by what the individual considers useful and good. Where goals become a factor, the same question can be applied.
  • gloaming
    104
    Neither exists unless the two are paired. Pragmatism is an orientation to 'least cost/harm/chaos/other undesired outcome/condition" while still accomplishing one's ultimate objective. IOW, a pragmatist desires predictability, stability, reliability, and an end-state that is conducive to repeated trials to determine variance in outcomes. Think 'engineering'.
  • Joshs
    716
    You're not making your pragmatism self-reflexive. Philosophical pragmatism is not just the means to an end. It also recognizes that the ends (values, goals) are contingent. They cahnge as they become means to different goals. So means and ends change places all the time. .
  • gloaming
    104
    I thought it would be understood from what I wrote. "Paired". No inference of primacy or prima causa.
  • Joshs
    716
    You defined pragmatism only as a means to an end. That's an accurate reading of the common definition of the pragmatic. My only point was that it is not an accurate definition of philosophical pragmatism(Dewey, James) for whom the 'pairing ' IS what pragmatism means. In other words, not one side of the equation(even if we don' t assume primacy) with valuation on the other side, but both sides at once.
  • Judaka
    366

    I agree that pragmatism can't exist without values but I don't think values rely on pragmatism, what makes you say that is the case?

    Your definition for a pragmatism appears value-laden, do you dispute that a pragmatist could have considerations vastly different from the ones you've listed?


    In your mind, will the ideal pragmatist select values which are in his estimation pragmatic or try to determine goals based on his values and strive towards those accomplishments in a pragmatic fashion?
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    In your mind, will the ideal pragmatist select values which are in his estimation pragmatic or try to determine goals based on his values and strive towards those accomplishments in a pragmatic fashion?Judaka

    Good question.

    Pragmatism, it seems, stems from a conflict between ideals and reality. Humans have ideals and, sometimes or maybe most of the times, these ideals don't mirror fact/reality. For instance we want to be fair and value equality but some things simply can't be equalized. We want to be good but there are parts of our nature that don't allow this to happen and so on.

    In such situations, knowing our own limitations, we need to be pragmatic - do what is achievable. We have to be rational and attempting the impossible is being a loony. However, being pragmatic doesn't necessarily mean we need to change our value-driven goals. Going step by step, in small practical increments, is also being pragmatic. Equality or a completely moral society may seem like a pipe dream but it is possible to achieve it (no logical contradictions follow) if we do it in a slow and methodical manner.

    Our values are important to us. They arise from a moral background as in we value things that are good. While the good itself is hard to pin down definitively, its vague meaning is sufficient to capture the spirit of human endeavor; our values will decide how we steer the planet's destiny. There's nothing wrong with our values and so it needs the least meddling with. This doesn't mean our values are always good - there's always some rotten apples in the basket. These need to be evaluated, analyzed, modified or discarded but not because they're not practical but because they're not good.

    In conclusion, I think we need to have good values based on morality but we need to be pragmatic on how to achieve the goals begotten from them, our values.
  • Judaka
    366

    So you see pragmatism's role as being to save us from pursuing our ideals in an unrealistic fashion?

    You seem to see the problem of us not necessarily having values which are good but this is a separate issue from pragmatism?

    Although this is not my ideal pragmatist, I think many great people have a similar attitude. I think it's very common in today's age to see people being more concerned with being right or being seen as right and far less concern with being useful.

    There are lots of people with good intentions but if only those good intentions were directed in a way which would be more conducive to some kind of success.

    I think a pragmatic perspective also realisations the difficulties we face in trying to create "equality" for example. Not becoming overwhelmed by despair and disappointment which I think can also occur in people who lack a pragmatic focus.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    It's like designing a house - having use (pragmatic) and form (beauty/goodness).
  • Judaka
    366
    That's a nice image and a very balanced perspective. Thanks for answering my questions.
  • Joshs
    716
    Use and form interpenetrate each other, They cannot be separated, any more than scheme and content, or fact and value. Every fact is organized within a valuative scheme, which in turn is shaped by encounter with the world.
  • Joshs
    716
    "Will the ideal pragmatist select values which are in his estimation pragmatic or try to determine goals based on his values and strive towards those accomplishments in a pragmatic fashion?"

    I dont know what an ideal pragmatist is. All I can tell you is that the philosophers who founded the school of American pragmatism(Dewey, James, Mead) didn't believe that we can simply choose our values from scratch any more than we can choose how we are shaped by our culture. We already find ourselves in within a value perspective which is how the world makes sense to us. We can experiment within that perspective to find modes of interaction with the world which are more optimally adaptive, and we can modify to an extent our value structures if more fine-tuned adjustment within our current perspective is not helping us to cope.
  • Judaka
    366
    Oh yes, I agree we cannot just dispense with our values and get some new ones because we think they'll be more useful :).

    What do you think the relationship is between these two things and which one should have a greater influence over the other?Judaka

    I am more interested in this question.

    I think it's obvious that certain values will change over time as we learn. We will realise what kind of traits we value, what kind of things are important for success and what kind of things make us happy. I also agree with your sentiments that a brand of pragmatism will be created for each person it is set to serve.

    Do you think someone who is more pragmatically-minded will end up implementing different changes to their values than others will? Do you think this could lead to imbalance or problems?
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Use and form interpenetrate each other, They cannot be separated, any more than scheme and content, or fact and value. Every fact is organized within a valuative scheme, which in turn is shaped by encounter with the world.Joshs

    Well said.

    I'll ask you this: what would you not change, value or ways to achieve what your values tell you are worthy goals? The latter route is where pragmatism should apply in my opinion. If you alter your values to suit the situation then it subtracts from one of our greatest abilities - imagination of and aiming at a better world.
  • Joshs
    716
    The interpenetration of fact an value means that in order to cope with, adapt to and anticipate new situations, we have to construct schemes of interpretation. Such schemes imply ways in which situations matter to us, are significant to us, are relevant for us. So you see, one cannot change one's interpretive framework without also altering how we e-valuate the world, Altering one's construals is at the same time shifting ones value-structure, not profoundly but in subtle ways. There needs to be some relative self-consistency in our values fro one day to the next. If events forced us to completely abandon one set of value principles this would be period of emotional crisis, and something to try to avoid unless absolutely necessary. Incremental shifts reflect a healthier and more adaptive engagement with the world..

    Imaginations and success at construing a better world are measured not by repeating the same experience over and over the same way, but by our ability to re conceptualize it which is both a 'pragmatic' and valuative shift to an extent. Changes in scientific worldviews are also valuative transformations.
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