6 Most Important Characteristics of Pragmatism

Characteristics of Pragmatism are as follows:

1. Faith in Democracy

This philosophy believes in humanism which is in accordance with democracy. Pragmatism shows its deep faith in democracy, as democracy is a way of life and a spirit of sharing experiences.

Faith-Based - FMA

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It does not believe in eternal values. Man makes his own values. Values change according to the change of time. They are relative. There is nothing in the name of eternal values. Truth is that which works, which serves some purpose and is useful to a man. Truth is man-made and the values of life and truth always change.

It is a Revolt against Traditionalism. This philosophy is a midway between Naturalism and Idealism. It neither believes in the established beliefs nor in the objective interpretation of naturalism. It lays emphasis on the practicability of thing and activity.

2. Principle of utility

Pragmatism believes in the principle of utility. Utility is the measure of a view point. The thing which gives satisfaction is useful. According to this only those ideas and things are true which have a utility for man.


3. Thought in Subordinate to Action

Pragmatism sees thought as intrinsically connected with action. It gives supreme position to action.

4. Metaphysics

Pragmatism regards the material world as true. It regards human being as the supreme person. He is a social being and his development is possible only in the society. To it this world is the combination of different elements. It considers truth as changeable.


Truth is man-made. There is a change in its form and concept. Pragmatism believes in the power of God if the existence of God is helpful in the growth of human being otherwise not. It lays stress on action and its consequences. It considers reality as a process of the completion of a task.

5. Axiology

Pragmatism does not believe in eternal values. Man himself creates values. Values are not predetermined. Pragmatists consider consequences as the basis of selection of all types of values.

If the values are useful their selection is appropriate otherwise not. In the context of religion, Dewey has said, ‘God is active relation between Ideal and Reality; they consider the use of intelligence in the solution of problems.

6. Epistemology

Pragmatism considers experience as the source of attaining knowledge. Human being receives knowledge through experience based activity and ideas by acting and reacting with human environment. Pragmatists consider experimental methods as the best means of attaining knowledge.

To them problem, selection of problem, data collection, hypothesis and experimentation are the steps of experimental method. Truth is the outcome of expected consequences through this method.

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