Practical, Pluralistic, Participatory, Provisional: Pragmatism

Chip Bruce reviews david H. Brendel’s book Healing Psychiatry: Bridging the Science/Humanism Divide.

Chip highlights Brendel’s “Four P’s of Pragmatism” – offering an useful explication of the terms and their relevance to Pragmatism:

The first p, pharmacy website like this order practical, patient emphasizes pragmatism’s insistence on considering the consequences of any concept, pill to steer away from abstractions and idealizations that have no conceivable effects in our ordinary experience. The second p, pluralistic, reflects the fact that pragmatism is not so much one method or theory, but rather, an approach that considers any tools that may increase understanding, thereby achieving better practical consequences. It also reflects the assumption that interesting phenomena are unlikely to be captured within a simple category or single way of viewing. The third p, participatory, follows from the second in that multiple perspectives, Peirce’s community of inquiry, are needed to accommodate a pluralistic understanding. And the fourth p, provisional (cf. fallibilism), acknowledges that in a complex and ever-changing world, any understanding is subject to change as we learn more or as events occur.

Pragmatism is a major influence on my thought, and a strong influence on my community work. The four P’s work well for me, and are very appropriate to both the kind of science and the kind of civic life we need.

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