The Character Education Movement Takes on Pragmatism, Confuses it with Instrumental Reason

My spouse and i just stumbled across what looked like a really short and snappy description of the pragmatist philosophy (or? nternet site like to call it “the pragmatist disbelief system”). In fact, Bob Sherman’s article provides a nice summary of core principles of the pragmatist movements. He does what initially appears to be an admirable job of describing the relationship of pragmatism to “truth-claims, ” putting an emphasis on that pragmatists define the truth of any particular proposition as a) rather than an absolute position and b) based on the performance of this proposition. Project AWOL

The article is really worth looking over if you need to understand how those endorsing “character education” view pragmatism. It does indeed not take long to realize that while Mister. Sherman gets some of this right, he has fundamentally misunderstood the significance of reasoning pragmatically. His mischaracterization is not strange. I believed I might take the possibility to clarify what is in fact the pragmatist system of thought and exactly how it works itself out in the ballpark of social and economical policy.

The main difficulty Mr. Sherman runs into is a frequent one-the equation of pragmatism with instrumental reason, which is itself bound plan relativism (the belief that any set of life alternatives is as good as any other), subjectivism (morals are not grounded in reason, but individual selections to limit behavior for no other reason than we desire it so) and the quest for authenticity. Mr. Sherman take into account corporate Numerous emphasis on profit optimization as examples of pragmatism in action:

“Any time you observe business leaders, political figures, or other social market leaders emphasizing their vision for the future, they can be concentrating on results or effects. If they do not emphasize objective moral specifications that will help determine their means of reaching those desired goals, they are likely to be adherents to the viewpoint of pragmatism. For example, businesses that seek to improve their profitability may attempt to ignore employee loyalty as well as health insurance and safety standards. This kind of characterizes many companies that move high paying making jobs from the Usa States to Mexico. N . Mexico is the home of numerous U. T. companies for which earnings is most important. very well

This argument is an unique one out of one respect – even though it comes from a supporter of the religious traditional Character Education Movement, it suggests that the market is not always fair (what has conservatism come to? ). Let’s set that besides and simply address the implications of the example as given. Is American pragmatism at its center a self-centered ideology in which however, most callous and unfeeling policies can be justified as beneficial at some level (individual or organizational)? Can it be a system that focuses our attention on immediate satisfaction regardless of larger outcome?

I doubt it.

A key component reason is the idea that any decision should benefit one’s own slim self-interest. Under this description, gratification of one’s wishes (base and elevated) is the primary good, and other folks exist simply as tools for reaching those ends. Thus, someone who endorses instrumental reasoning will interpret items like wedding promises (“I take thee to be mine in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad”) to their own benefit (“I take the to be mine so long as it’s best for me”). Niccolo Machiavelli provided us with an early on sort of instrumental reason in his play Mandragola.

Unlike the British version of Machiavellianism, in this play everything calculates for the good so long as everyone pursues their own narrow self-interest and use others as tools to achieve that self-centered aim. While the play proposes an excellent philosophy for governing personal relationships (as well as political), it also demonstrates how personal relationships are narrowed and attenuated when they basically serve the purpose of obtaining some self-interested goal.

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