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Throughout the history of the world, there have been many kinds and styles of thinking. The Presocratics went against the storytelling of their day in favor of logical explanations of things. Socrates was  consumed with reason and asking questions. Socrates taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle. Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. The philosophy of Socrates and Plato had their ideas about metaphysics, how the world came to be and why it is the way it is.  This kind of thinking went on to influence many different kinds of philosophies. Directly after these were the ages of the Hellenic philosophies. These offered interesting, practical and positive insights into the implication of philosophy for everyday life,” although most of these erred on the side of pessimism. (Marmysz, 93) After Hellenistic philosophy came the age of Mideval philosophy. Descartes’ era provided a bridge between Medieval and Modern philosophies. Modern philosophies have developed, and in turn have become Contemporary philosophies. Among these is pragmatism. Pragmatism was interesting and applicable because it was concerned with problems of the real world, considering the practical payoff of ideas rather than rationalist views about the way the world was created/ how thoughts/ ideas came to be.
Pragmatism was originally a philosophy developed by Charles Sanders Peirce. However, the philosophy became popular with William James when he gave “a series of lectures at Columbia University between 1906 and 1907.” (Marmysz, 315) James’ philosophy was actually rejected by Peirce so much that he changed the name of his philosophy to “Pragmaticism.” James split philosophy into a two different subsections, the “tender” and the “tough” minded. The tender minded philosophies were essentially continental philosophers. They attempt to discern what is underneath the “veil” behind nature and human existence. “Tough” minded philosophers leaned more analytically, concerned with “concrete facts, observation, and pluralism.” (Marmysz, 316) James stated that his philosophy of pragmatism offers a good mix of “scientific rigror” and “religious meaningfulness”, in a single style of thought.
Pragmatism is concerned with the practical payoff of something. That theories must “haves some use.” If a practical application of one theory is true, and it stumps an opposing theory, the theory that has the practical application is correct. Much of philosophy prior to pragmatism was focused on metaphysics and the ideas behind, well, ideas.  According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, pragmatists could ask metaphysicians the question “What concrete practical difference would it make if my theory were true and its rival(s) false?” Essentially, arguments about metaphysics and ways of thinking are a waste of time. If there were no practical consequences, metaphysical theories were simply “idle speculation.” (Marmysz, 318) “Pragmatism demands that we be able to experience and discern the consequences that follow from competing speculations about the nature of the world.” (318) William James is quoted that the only “real” thing is the world that we live in today. He believed that the use of “common sense” was the best way to go about understanding the world and acquiring new knowledge. Throughout the course of history, as the human race processes, so too does common sense. In our textbook, it says that James uses the metaphor of grease spots to represent common sense. As these grease spots get bigger, they become connected with one another, and our understanding of the world grows collectively.  
Because it was concerned with the practical payoff, or “cash value” of ideas, pragmatic thinkers must take into account all things, and not discredit things solely because they did not believe it, but rather based on logical proof. If something had a practical payoff, it was of use, according to pragmatic philosophy. Following this logic, if there was proof of a heaven or hell after death, pragmatists could be inclined to believe that and live their life according to those virtues. According to the Intern Encyclopedia of Philosophy, however, “If scientific theories are dramatically underdetermined by data, then there are alternative theories which fit said data. How then can we be absolutely sure we have chosen the right theory?” This relates, because, even if we find out that heaven and hell do exist, how can we be sure of how they work/ what is needed to end up in either? Although pragmatism rejected many of the philosophies before it, focusing on the world as we know it was not a new idea in philosophy. 
What is interesting about the modern philosophies is to see how they can be related to philosophies before them. Cynicism was a Hellenistic philosophy, and a belief that “human beings have become alienated from their true nature because of the influences of conventional society.” (Marmysz, 96) This was taken to the extreme by Diogenes, who was a student of Antisthenes, who taught at a school called the “Cynosarges” in ancient Greece. He considered himself a cosmopolitan, or “citizen of the entire world” and refused to pledge allegiance to one nation because he did not believe in the message that society presented. He was eventually exiled. Regardless, Cynicism was seen as extreme, but the thoughts were echoed closely via a more reasonable application in the Stoic philosophy. Although not directly related to pragmatism, they might be talked about in reference to it, because the “practical payoff” was that one would be happier if they distanced themselves from society and lived according to nature’s laws. “Stoicism begins with the assertion that all existing things are rooted in the material world.” (Marmysz, 97) Being based in the cash value of things usually meant that those things were in the material world. After the Hellenistic philosophies came the Mideval philosophies, and among them, was St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas has an idea that “We cannot understand those things with which we have no experience.” (Marmysz, 133) This coincides with pragmatism because pragmatism is mostly concerned with the things we know/ can find out.
Many of the philosophies talked about in the textbook relate in no way to pragmatism, or rather, pragmatism believes they are a waste of time. Throughout the mideval stage, the general public was very concerned with god and how he fit into these newer ideas of logic and reason. In the transitional phase of philosophy, from the mideval to modern ages, there was much focus on astrology. There were many public debates about geo-centric vs. heliocentric models of the universe. Interestingly, Renee Descartes was someone to come out of this era. Much of Descartes meditations would be considered unnecessary by pragmatists, except for possibly meditations IV and V. Meditation IV is regarding human error, and how God can have no particular part in it. Looking pragmatically at this, if one were to believe in God, one could rest easy knowing that God does not have any particular inclination to lead us to falsehood. 
After Descartes, talk of morality started to arise. This is concerned with pragmatism because there is a practical use for it. If one is not living according to their morals, odds are they are not going to achieve all that they can. Hume proposed that humans have a “mixed nature”, split between rationality/intellect and the want to be “sociable” and “active”. (Hume, Inquiry) Morality is a matter of “fulfilling one’s interests and playing a useful role in the society of which one is a part.” (Marmysz, 205) This relates to practical payoff because there is a practicality in advancing society in one’s own way rather than the way one is “supposed to”. Passion comes into play, and one can do more if fueled with the passion for that which they are pursuing.
The next major philosopher was Emmanuel Kant, someone from who pragmatism “draws heavily” on. (IEP) Kant sorts philosophers into two categories, the “totalizers” and the “critics.” Pragmatic thinkings would lean more toward the side of the critics, in that human knowledge is limited, and we cannot find the absolute truth to the universe, much as we search for it. Pragmatism actually splits previous philosophers into categories of their own: the “tender” and “tough” minded philosophers, which I touched on in the beginning. Hume believed that “we should not speculate too vigorously on whatever it is that lies beyond the grasp of our knowledge,” which is somewhat in line with pragmatism. Because of this, pragmatic thinkers focus solely on what we can know, and not on what may be, because we probably will never know an absolute truth, and that would be the only way that theoretical thinking would provide a “practical payoff.” Kant’s philosophy of Transcendental Idealism states that all we know is of the phenomenal world. There is a good and bad side to this. The good is that it means that a science of the phenomenal world is acceptable, because it is all that we know. Contrarily, it says that metaphysics is not something that we can ever know, and that arguments of this nature are “transcendental illusions” because they are based solely in pure reason. (Marmysz, 225)
Pragmatists are concerned with practicality, and Kant wrote a book called The Critique of Practical Reasoning. In this, he states that the goal of theoretical reasoning is to find a universal truth about knowledge and the world. He goes on to state that reason has a practical application as well. That is, to find a universal truth about morality. This is paradoxical, however, because one cannot create or state a new truth about morality, because true morality “is so independent of what people say or think.” (Marmysz, 227) Rather, it is contingent on an “a priori categorical imperative preexisting in the mind.” (Marmysz, 232) 
Empiricism is pretty in line with the thoughts of “enlightenment thinkers.” These “emphazised the role played by rationality,” and “focused on the power of human intellect to transform and guide the human condition toward a brighter future in which freedom and autonomy would be advanced.” (Marmysz, 243) Hegel promotes the idea that the world is rational, and the underlying structure should not be thought of as a being or thing. Pragmatists live along the lines of rationality, so this information is useful to them. Hegel proposes the idea that, if we are able to “master the details of dialectical logic, the we will”, we will be able to understand the true nature of the world. He also brings to attention the ideas of lordship and bondage: the relationship between master and servant. This can be argued to help pragmatism because it helps one understand this particular kind of relationship. Hegel also influenced different kinds of philosophy, namely Left, Right, and Center Hegelianism. Left Hgelelianism says that Religion “is simply a delusion that keeps people from focusing on real, concrete, human affairs.” This is pretty in line with pragmatism, in the sense that practical affairs are human affairs. Among the Left Hegelians were Ludwig Feurbach, who stated that heaven is an illusion, and the sooner we realize this, “the sooner we can get on with the task of making the world that we now live in better.” (Marcysz, 262) He also offered the idea that if we slowly ween off or stop worshiping God, we can get back to the matter at hand: worshipping mankind.
Pragmatism is interesting and different than other philosophies because it focuses on what is actually practical. It is, in a sense, a reformation of empiricism. That is probably one of the reasons that it became so popular. If something was solely theory, it was just speculation. Because of this, it was applicable in all walks of life. Without the philosophies prior to it, however, pragmatism may not be as effective, or rather, those previous philosophies would still have come to be had pragmatism come before them. It is in human nature to be curious, and the concept of religion and metaphysics would surely have arisen at one point or another.

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