Define Pragmatism. What is the Aim of Pragmatism in Education?


The philosophy of pragmatism determines the effectiveness of anything only on its practical consequences. According to pragmatist thinkers, one should make use of scientific methods in validating ideas and emphasize on the development of child as learning and experiencing human being. There are four important forms of pragmatism:

  1. Humanistic Pragmatism: It emphasizes that all truths must be verified on reality criterion.
  2. Experimental Pragmatism: It emphasizes that truth must be proved through experiments.
  3. Nominalistic Pragmatism: It claims that results that are obtained from experiments are not concrete; tut general.
  4. Biological Pragmatism: It suggests that School is a miniature form of society and It must educate a child how to develop harmony.with his environment.

Metaphysics and Pragmatism: Pragmatists accept experience as the only source of knowledge. They opine that making an attempt to answer metaphysical questions is useless as no one can experience them while living and even if one experiences like Buddha and Mahavira, they can’t transfer or explain their experience in any way.

Epistemology and Pragmatism: Pragmatists claim that man is perceiver as well as perceived. Experience is the only reliable source of knowledge. Since phenomena in the world are constantly changing therefore, knowledge must also change accordingly. Experiences add to the total stock of human knowledge and become base for further experiences.

Values and Pragmatism: Values are not absolute but relative. They are not universal but situational. They claim that there cannot be any universal or ultimate values as truth itself is not universal or ultimate, but it is conditional and relative. Therefore, value judgements should be tested on practical grounds. Valuable is what adds to success, productivity and happiness.

Aims of Education:

Pragmatists do not emphasize on spiritual, moral or transferring of pexisting knowledge as aims of education. They suggest following aims of education:

  • Development of an adaptive and creative mind.
  • Development of an ability to restructure experiences.
  • According to John Dewey, aims of education are merely suggestive and most important thing is to enable learners to restructure their experiences in different situations. It indirectly means that education must inculcate reflective attitude in learners.
  • Realization of democratic values is an important aim of education. A classroom should work on democratic principles so that, the child learns and values democratic values.
  • Education must also enable learners to adjust in real life situations. Creating sensitivity towards social issues is also an important aim of education.
  • Education must develop vocational skills, good habits, flexibility, morality and art of leisure living.

Tags: Ma Education

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