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Pragmatism - Final Essay

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University essay on pragmatism.
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  Martinová 1Michaela MartinováPragmatism and Environment25 September 2011  Final essay When I was reading the first essa for o!r lessons of pragmatism William #ames$ What Pragmatism Means and I got to the point where he is describing what I call %the s&!irrel stor $ I said to mself' ()or *od$s sa+e wh does anbod need to occ!p himself with these things, -ren$t there better and more important matters to thin+ abo!t,.  /evertheless as I moved on I fo!nd o!t that #ames is right What we call the tr!th depends largel on what o!r eperience is hat is wh b %going ro!nd the s&!irrel$ someone means (passing from the north of him to the east then to the so!th then to the west and then to the north of him again. 3#ames 141 while someone other can mean (being first in front of him then on the right of him then behind him then on his left and finall in front again. 3#ames 141 6ifferent perception of the tr!th can be for eample clearl seen in those cases when a generall pop!lar person let !s sa a doctor ab!ses his wife and children )or his patients and colleag!es he is almost %another Mother eresa $ so +ind and helpf!l he is towards them )or his famil on the other hand he is nothing more than a cr!el despot /ow where does thetr!th lie,In connection with the claim that the tr!th depends on o!r own eperience I wonder if there can be something as the general or !niversal tr!th In his essa Self-Reliance 7alph Waldo Emerson writes that (to believe o!r own tho!ght to believe that what is tr!e for o! in o!r private heart is tr!e for all men 8 that is geni!s. 3Emerson 94 his statement is partlin agreement with #ames partl not While #ames onl sas that o!r perception of the tr!th differs according to o!r previo!s eperience Emerson adds that what is tr!e for !s personall is also tr!e for the others )rom m point of view what Emerson declares seems to be &!ite self:contradictor If for !s the tr!th is what we believe in and everone believes in something different how can o!r tr!th be tr!e for other men, Perhaps he means that we onl thin+ that o!r tr!th is tr!e for the others In an case there seems to be nothing s!ggesting that the !niversal tr!th reall eist Still there are things that all of !s believe in regardless o!r  personal eperience beca!se the were confirmed b some a!thorities which we are willing to follow as #ames writes in his essa The Will to Believe  )or instance (we all of !s believe in molec!les and the conservation of energ in democrac and necessar progress in Protestant ;hristianit. 3#ames 9< and we do not +now wh We onl accept what we have  been told =owever I thin+ that this is applicable onl for these %big tr!ths$ In the case of the %lesser tr!ths$ which are more personal and th!s !s!all more important for o!r lives we rather tr!st to o!r own eperiencehis different and personal perception of the tr!th was also reflected in several poems we read d!ring o!r seminars When analsing Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird   b Wallace Stevens we agreed with m classmates that whatever the blac+bird is smbol for Stevens wants to show that there are several vario!s was how we can loo+ at one thing hen it depends on the person$s point of view what appears to be the tr!th he notion of the relative tr!th can be perhaps most clearl seen in the poem On the Road Home  b the same a!thor It begins with the words (It was when I said > %here is no s!ch thing as the tr!th $. and the second stan?a follows (@o!  @o! said> %here are man tr!ths > A!t the are not  parts of a tr!th$. hese lines s!ggest that there are a lot of tr!ths one for ever single individ!al in the world b!t there is nothing li+e the general tr!th which co!ld be accepted b all of !s Aeca!se as the last line in the fo!rth stan?a reads (he world m!st be meas!red b ee. In other words o!r perception of the tr!th is relative  Martinová 2Similarl in Steven$s  necdote of Men by the Tho!sand   we can read between the linesthat the tr!th depends on what we have eperienced Stevens writes that (here are men of theEast he said > Who are the East> here are man of a province> Who are that province> here are men of a valle> Who are that valle. In the last stan?a he adds that (he dress of a woman of Bhassa > In its place > Is an invisible element of that place> Made invisible. What I feel from this poem is that not onl o!r tr!th depends on o!r eperience b!t also we are infl!enced b common preC!dice We epect that each man of the East is the tpical man of the East according to o!r preceding eperience Dnfort!natel what does not have to ca!se  problems in some cases can be dangero!s or at least aw+ward in other sit!ations -s an eample I can provide o!r common attit!de towards -rabs If a ;?ech and I g!ess that it doesnot pa for ;?ech people onl enco!nters an -rab the first thing what comes into his mind is' (h m *od another terroristF. =ardl ever the are able to C!dge him as an independent h!man being )or them he is nothing more than one member of this %terrorist nation$ =owever when a /orwegian terrorist carried o!t an attac+ against his own people in #!l 2011 no one co!ld believe it -nd how did this act change o!r view towards /orwegians as a nation, 6o we consider ever single /orwegian we meet to be a terrorist, I do!bt it -ltho!ghthis is also the tr!th we eperienced personall it is not deepl rooted in !s et Moreover there is lac+ of social preC!dice hat is wh I thin+ that altho!gh the tr!th we believe in depends on o!r own eperience it is also infl!enced b o!ter circ!mstances and b the n!mber of o!r eperience -nwa let !s go bac+ to o!r poems I have alread mentioned several Stevens$  poems b!t there are also some b )rost and Williams I wo!ld li+e to write abo!t he also deal with different perception of the tr!th tho!gh from another point of view Williams$  Bet een Walls  is the poem which spea+s abo!t o!r perception of bea!t It reads that bea!t is present everwhere even in the most !nli+el of places We onl have to loo+ closer to find it-gain as I thin+ it depends on o!r eperience where we are able to loo+ for bea!t Williams$ poem is as follows' (the bac+ wings> of the> hospital where> nothing> will grow lie> cinders> in which shine> the bro+en> pieces of a green> bottle. he little glittering pieces of  bottle ling in cinders can be bea!tif!l for those who have never c!t themselves with them =owever if o! find o!r foot h!rt ever time o! go thro!gh s!ch a pile of bro+en pieces no one can epect o! to be fascinated when o! see them no matter how shining the are  /ow where the tr!th is, -re the pieces of the green bottle bea!tif!l or not, Well the tr!th depends on o!r own eperience7obert )rost$s poem To #arth ard   tells !s how the tr!th changes with o!r ageing and eperience In the first part of the poem the narrator sas what love loo+ed li+e when he was o!ng how little was needed to enchant him' (Bove at the lips was to!ch> -s sweet as I co!ld bearG> -nd once that seemed too m!chG> I lived on air> hat crossed me from sweet things. A!t what seemed to be pleasant and breathta+ing when he was o!ng cannot satisf him whenhe is older' (I craved strong sweets b!t those> Seemed strong when I was o!ng. I thin+ that in other words the poem claims that no matter if we want it or not o!r eperience is changing as we are growing old h!s also o!r personal tr!ths are changing beca!se the depend on o!r eperience hat is what we considered tr!th at the age of fifteen can be !nacceptable for !s when we are sevent-ltho!gh I reCect some other principles of pragmatism I have to absol!tel agree with the claim that the tr!th is relative based on o!r own personal eperience It proved to be tr!e in lots of sit!ations of m life /evertheless what also proved to be tr!e for me is that if o! want to get on with o!r mates or other members of the societ generall o! have to learn toaccept their tr!ths too -t least if their tr!ths are not completel against o!r better  C!dgement
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