What is an example of something today to illustrate Charles Peirce's definition of pragmatism, which considers practical consequences or real effects to be vital components of both meaning and truth?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Peirce believed that a statement has to have practical applications to be meaningful. He stated that we must consider the practical effects of a conception to understand an idea.

For example, the source in the links below is about a hotel attendant who handed a guest an object that looked very much like a key but that the attendant said was not a key. The guest used the object to open the door, and it worked. However, the attendant referred to key-like objects that did not open the door as keys and did not refer to the one key that worked as a key. As the writer points out, perhaps the attendant had earlier knowledge about what a key was (perhaps an earlier set of keys that no longer worked) and therefore did not identify this new object as a key. However, as we define objects or concepts by their practical applications, the object the guest used to open a door is in fact a key. Therefore, our notion of what something is is defined by what it does or its effects.