Jane Addams, “Pragmatic” Compromise, and Anti-War Pragmatism tadd ruetenik St. Ambrose University it seems like it would be easy to be a pragmatist and difficult to be a pacifist. In the commonsense understanding of “pragmatism,” the term is nearly synonymous with “compromise,” and compromise is usually thought to involve denying one’s ideals in order to get things done. This could be getting things done for what is believed to be the common good, and both dictators and utilitar- ians can be called pragmatists. If it is said that a pragmatist sacrifices her ideals for the sake of the greater good, this is a little misleading, since such sacrifice is merely an expression of one’s natural disposition, and thus hardly tragic. On the other hand, “pacifism” is often understood to be a type of ide- alism, as the term is again commonly understood. Idealism is here taken as almost synonymous with “utopian.” So considered, a pacifist stands in contrast to the pragmatist, with the pacifist regarded as well-intended but perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, naïve. The pragmatist, on the other hand, is considered hard-nosed, and often, for some reason, more virtuous. There seems to be a work ethic
The Pluralist – University of Illinois Press
Published: Mar 13, 2019
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