Key Difference – Pragmatism vs Idealism
Pragmatism and idealism are two opposing philosophical approaches. Pragmatism is a philosophical approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application. Idealism, on the other hand, refers to any philosophy that asserts that reality is mentally constructed or immaterial. The key difference between pragmatism and idealism is that pragmatism considers practical consequences of an action as its main component whereas idealism considers mental entities or thoughts and ideas as its main component.
What is Pragmatism?
Pragmatism is a philosophical approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application. This philosophical tradition developed in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Charles Sanders Peirce is considered to be the founder of this tradition. William James, George Hubert Mead and John Dewey are also considered as its major proponents. For pragmatists, thought is a guide to prediction, problem-solving and action. The practical consequences of an action or thought are the main components of pragmatism.
According to pragmatists, most philosophical topics such as nature of knowledge, concepts, science, beliefs, and language can be viewed in terms of their practical applications. Pragmatism emphasizes on this practical application of thoughts by acting on them to test them in human experiments.
What is Idealism?
Idealism is a term that refers to many philosophical positions such as subjective idealism, objective idealism, absolute idealism, and transcendental idealism. Idealism can basically refer to any philosophy that believes fundamental reality is made of ideas or thoughts. This also implies that reality or large portions of it are mentally constructed, and physical world is an illusion. Thus, according to idealists, it is mental entities, not physical entities that are real things. Idealism is monism, but it stands in direct contrast to other beliefs such as materialism, physicalism and realism.
In general speech, idealism can also refer to a person’s high ideals; this is usually taken as impractical or unrealizable.
What is the difference between Pragmatism and Idealism?
Pragmatism is a philosophical doctrine that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application.
Idealism refers to any philosophy that asserts that reality, or reality as we can know it, is mentally constructed or immaterial.
Pragmatism considers practical consequences of an action as its main component.
Idealism considers mental entities or thoughts and ideas as its main component.
Pragmatism considers thought as a guide to prediction, problem-solving and action.
Idealism considers thoughts and ideas as the only real entities.
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