Experiences are of various nature and they are always changing. So no final, eternal valid system of ideas or values can be fixed up. There are no ideas or values which are any truths, they are man-made products.
They are not divine and they are not eternal. Pragmatism may be viewed in three forms: humanistic, experimental and biological. According to humanistic pragmatism that which fulfils man’s purpose is true. Experimental pragmatism regards that as true which can be experimentally verified, in other words, ‘whatever works’, is true. Biological pragmatism has great faith in man’s capacity for shaping his own destiny in the environment. It believes that man, by nature, is potentially strong to make a better environment for himself. This is the kind of pragmatism which is more dominant and expressive in modern times.
It is also called instrumentalism, because it emphasizes thought as an instrument for enabling the human organism to adapt itself to the environment. Pragmatism thinks that man is essentially a biological and social organism which reacts to biological and social simulation alone. It believes that life is not abstract and it is never systematic.
The pragmatist regards the sciences of psychology and sociology as more asking to the concrete nature of man’s experience than mathematical physics. Therefore, he calls himself a concrete realist. It is not surprising then that he is more interested with the problem of the moment and with the immediate future. He thinks that past is past, tomorrow is another day with its own problems amid methods of solution of the same. Evidently, today we cannot be certain about the methods, of solving problems which may arise in the future. Therefore, our attention should be more on the present than on anything else. Idealism has more faith in the past and it builds a transcendental ideal beyond human realization.
Pragmatism revolts against this attitude and holds that which transcends the actualities of human experience is false. While criticizing the idealist view and sounding the view of pragmatism Kallen” very ally remarks, “Such philosophical reconstruction, in the lives of individuals is kept in its proper sphere, it is a fine art. As example of these somnambulism’s, any idealistic system will do, from Kant to Bradley.” To a pragmatist only those ideals are meaningful which can be realized here and now and not in some imaginary world in remote future. Quite naturally, the pragmatist is against transcendentalism.
It is noteworthy that he is not so much against the idealism of the classical representative type. Mark the words of Dewey, “Professed idealism turns out to be a narrow pragmatism. The time has arrived for a pragmatism which shall be empirically idealistic, proclaiming the essential connection of intelligence with the unachieved future.
” Apparently, the pragmatist thus regards himself an empirical idealist, and thinks that his view is in essence more truly idealistic than the daydreams of transcendentalism. Pragmatism rejects the older beliefs in Truth and Reality considering them as mischievous. It believes that man, a biological organism being in constant interaction with biological and social environments, acts rather than contemplates, produces results rather than sits, thinks and understands.