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Pragmatism in Axiology: Analytical Essay

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The word “ethics” is taken from the ancient Greek word known as ēthikós (ἠθικός), which means relating to one’s character. Ethics is a branch of philosophy that includes systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of wrong and right. Ethics, aesthetics, and matters of value comprise the branch of philosophy known as axiology.


Pragmatism is derived from the Greek word “pragma” which means action/affair.

Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that first appeared in the United States during the time period of the 1870s. The originators of this tradition are several and the major ones are Charles Sander Peirce, William James, and John Dewey.

Pragmatism is based on the principles of usefulness, workability, and practicality of ideas. Pragmatism relates ideas to their practical implementation in daily life that how can they be useful to the mundane being and how they can implement these practical ideas to make their lives a better place. It stresses the priority of action over doctrine, of experiencing principles rather than making them stay said principles.

Getting things done, and achieving desired results in personal life just as in business life achieving company goals is said to be pragmatic. The antonym of Pragmatism is Procrastination which means the action of delaying or postponing something.


Axiology is taken from the Greek known as “Axia” (ἀξία), which means value and worth is the philosophical study of value. Axiology studies mainly two kinds of values, ethics, and aesthetics. Ethics investigates the concepts of right and wrong in individual and social conduct and Aesthetics studies beauty and harmony.

Pragmatism in Axiology

The concept of pragmatic ethics is an idea that attains a positive value after becoming a successful way to an end. There is no guarantee that something is good or bad. In pragmatic aesthetics, an appearance achieves its value from a group. One judges in light of the wisdom of a group rather than an individual in a group.

Richard McKay Rorty

Richard McKay Rorty was an American Philosopher born on 4th October. 1931. He studied at the University of Chicago and Yale University. Rorty, after a time, rejected the tradition of philosophy according to which knowledge involves a correct representation (mirror) of a world whose existence remains completely dependent on its representation. His most successful books are Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989).

There is Nothing Deep down Inside of us, except What We Put Ourselves There According to Rorty, our soul is curious. We describe what a soul is or how it should be but there is no proof that we have a soul. Even then we have held a belief that there is something inside us that tells us to do good or evil. Retry says, that there is nothing inside us, it’s just our imagination that we have something inside us that we call a soul.

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Knowledge as a mirror

Firstly we assume that the experience that has been given to us by our elders is the raw data of the world. Secondly, we suppose that, once this raw data has been stored in our minds, our reasoning (or some other part of our brains) starts to put the pieces together to make sense of that

Rorty, who follows the philosopher Wilfred Sellars, claims that experience, as given, cannot be accessed like the raw data. We have to perceive on our own through language.

The same language that has been used to divide up the world.,_Irony,_and_Solidarity

Rorty suggests that knowledge is not something that can be mirrored through someone else (matter of conversation and social practice). When we decide what counts as knowledge, our judgment rests not on how strongly a fact correlates to the world; it is what society would let us say. And what we don’t count as knowledge, we discard it because we have not been familiarized with other societies (language).

Reasons for Judgment

Rorty was aware that there are some disturbing implications here, especially in the question of ethics. Imagine you have kidnapped your neighbor’s pet and you’re torturing it just for the sake of fun which is a moral blameworthiness act. We all will claim that this is wrong to do such a thing (hurt someone). When asked upon you start giving reasons for why you did it.

According to Plato, Socrates, in search of concepts of “goodness” and “justice” used to question convicts about why they did it, and usually the convicts were people who were unclear, who didn’t know what this was really about. In modern-day interrogation, people tend to justify their acts easily but in their hearts, they know that it is wrong.

My Heart of Hearts

We see right and wrong among our lives frequently. But it is not immediately clear to us whether this is right and this is wrong. By acknowledging “I know, in my heart of hearts, that it is wrong”, we know that there is something out there in this world that is called wrong. As some philosophers state “essence of wrong”. This corresponds because it is the basics of things. By stating “we just know”, we imply that “hearts of hearts” is a thing that has a particular grasp of truth.

We seem to be speaking “hearts of hearts” and “wrongness” as if we know what we are talking about. According to biology, the heart is just an organ that pumps blood into bodies but we use the word “heart” to show feelings, emotions, and sometimes even knowledge. But it is not the heart’s function to store the knowledge or information that we grasp. This is the idea of mirroring the world.

A World without Absolutes

We have to give up on the idea of fundamental moral truths. There can be no absolute wrong or absolute right if society tells us what to say. We do not have a deeper connection with ourselves just what society has mirrored in us. We are temporary being in this world and one day our moral values will not mean much to anyone. In the early 1800’s the idea that a horse cart is the fastest way to travel was absolute, but later in the century, the first-ever car was invented. Society evolves as time passes, just as fashion, taste, likes, and dislikes. We accept the moral values of the society which have been handed down to us from generations because we want to be able to fit in the society and our loved ones.

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Pragmatism in Axiology: Analytical Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
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