Wednesday, 11 October 2006 02:59

About Pragmatism... Shaping my Journey

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How does pragmatism shape my journey?

Pragmatism is a philosophical movement in the early 20th Century (the first quarter) which may be America's prime contribution to philosophy. However, like all movement, it is difficult to pin down what pragmatism generally represents.facing This is because we have no way of defining the ideas of pragmatism in a way that would satisfy all of its proponents. Each pragmatic thinker would conceive of pragmatism in a different way--and would handle the problematic of the movement uniquely.

Many people often take the mental and physical for granted because they don't realize that these are merely nominal concepts that were invented to help solve specific problems. This causes metaphysical and conceptual confusion. Various examples are the "ultimate Being" of Hegelian philosophers, the belief in a "realm of value", the idea that logic, because it is an abstraction from concrete thought, has nothing to do with the act of concrete thinking, and so on.

What does pragmatism me?

Pragmatism does not represent me. I do not represent pragmatism. I simply proceed from the basic premise that the human capability of theorizing is integral to intelligent practice. Theory and practice are not exclusive properties; rather, theories and distinctions are tools or maps for finding our way in the world. I agree with the principle that, there is no question of theory versus practice but rather of intelligent practice versus uninformed, stupid practice. I'm still wrestling with the notion of intellectualizing practice instead of practicalizing intelligence. Theory is an abstraction from direct experience and ultimately must return to inform experience in turn. Therefore, a thing in an environment is sufficient grounds for pragmatist inquiry.

...and... what about the rabbit hole?

The idealist and realist philosophy tends to present human knowledge as something beyond what can be defined or reconciled to a point where language permits conceptual sharing. These philosophies typically resort to phenomenology or to correspondence theories of knowledge and truth. Unlike some pragmatists, who want to reform philosophy or bring it more in line with the scientific method, I am interested in drawing upon it's potential contrarian approach to help bring order to tangential influcences that affect moral dilema and internal conflict. Thus, I'm inclined to criticize idealism for its a priorism, and realism because it it takes correspondence as an unanalyzable fact. While I might accept that pragmatism could range beyond psychological and biological exploration, I am an opponent of the teleological argument.

I simply appreciate how pragmatism tries to reach between knower and known 'works' in the world. And this affords me the grace of trying to simply "be" instead of "thinking" about "being."

Read 1258 times Last modified on Friday, 03 June 2016 19:20
Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

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