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The Perils Of Pragmatism

February 2024
1min read

Louis Menand’s article “The Return of Pragmatism” in the October 1997 issue was most enlightening. Suddenly it is easy for me to see how our courts and our schools have degenerated as they have.

Pragmatism (a.k.a. relativism) throws logic aside, replacing it with feelings, and all of a sudden ends are used to justify means .

The errors of pragmatism are easily avoided by applying the methods of Karl R. Popper and others. Popper devised an epistemology in the 1930s that has grown and is now widely accepted by some of the best minds of our time. The Popper approach says that theories about the world must be constantly tested via deductions. Then, a theory remains true and is strengthened as more and more deductions pass tests. (Theories are the basis of all thought and action, such as: Each morning I test some theories about my car when I turn the key in the ignition switch.)

Popper’s book The Logic of Scientific Discovery is a must read for anyone interested in the operation of knowledge and thought. Perhaps Holmes, James, and Dewey would have been Popper adherents had they been exposed to his methods in their formative years. Oh! Had this been the case!

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