I am a pragmatist. And I think of myself as a practical person. Thus, I am a practical pragmatist.
So what is a pragmatist? A pragmatist is a person who is oriented toward the success or failure of a particular line of action, thought, etc.
A pragmatist is an advocate or adherent of pragmatism, which is the philosophy or conduct that emphasizes practicality.
The pragmatic philosophy is based on the belief that the best way to evaluate the practicality of ideas, policies, and proposals is through their workability and usefulness. Pragmatism stresses action over doctrine. The philosophy embraces the notion that ideas base their meanings from their consequences; that they are essentially instruments and plans of action.
So how do I know that I’m a pragmatist? When I was a young adult working a full-time job and attending graduate school at night to get a Master’s degree, the girl I was dating at the time lambasted me for putting more emphasis on “dollars and degrees” than on my relationship with her. I wasn’t, she bemoaned, giving her as much time and attention as I was giving my job and my school work. She didn’t like being the third priority in my life, yet she was.
I knew I needed to work hard at my job in order to pay for rent, food, school, and, well, life. I knew that getting a graduate degree would enable me to be more successful and secure in the future. I knew these things because I’m a pragmatist.
So what about “practical”? I describe myself as a logical, rational, and reasonable person. I am not ruled by emotions but by facts, observations, and evidence. That’s likely why, in addition to being a pragmatist, I’m an atheist. There is nothing logical, rational, or reasonable about religious doctrine or dogma. Rather than being based upon facts, observations, and evidence, religion is based upon faith and beliefs where there is no empirical evidence.
This is not to say that I can’t be open to beliefs or faith, either. Every time I board an airplane I have faith that the aircraft is mechanically sound and that the pilot and copilot are sober and competent. I just don’t buy into this whole God thing because there is no empirical evidence that such an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, supernatural being exists other than in the minds of those who have embraced ancient mythologies over logic, rationality, and reason.
Nor does my pragmatism mean that I am devoid of emotions. I am empathetic and have been known to shed a tear or two when I encounter the pain or suffering of others. I may not feel as intensely as others feel, but I feel nonetheless.
So bear in mind as you read my posts, should you decide to read beyond this first one, that, as a self-identified practical pragmatist, my perspectives are borne out of practicality and pragmatism.
And that works for me.