After Pragmatism and Agnosticism

The words pragmatism and agnosticism are very popular in today’s society. In fact they form a large part of modern society’s identity. But they are as ideological as any other mode of thought from human history. Indeed neither arose from simple ‘common sense’ as people often like to say. Pragmatism for instance, arose thanks to a large amount from the works of theorists such as John Dewey et al.

But given that we find it hard to even identify such things as ideologies it seems impossible that we might be able to guess what we will be thinking and saying 50 years from now, right?
In actual fact there have always been clues as to what the next leap in human thought would be through history. And they were almost always found in our beliefs about reality.

It is therefore quite profound to note that ideas such as the above are based on outdated beliefs in science. As Henry Staff (theoretical physicist from Berkeley) said “orthodox quantum mechanics insists […] that the physically described world is not a world of material substances, as normally conceived, but it is rather a world of potentialities for future experiences.” To this extent modern science completely rejects the very bedrock of pragmatic and agnostic beliefs, for both are built upon a materialist conception of reality. Or to put it another way both would have a hard time explaining Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

The important question that remains therefore, is what will replace such beliefs? What do you think?

One comment

  • I don’t think pragmatism is outdated since it doesn’t seek to explain the world, instead it seeks only to found a decision based on the observable world.

    If the observable world isn’t actually real according to quantum physics then that is a moot point, for the decision can only be made in that world, and so pragmatism views things only within that context.

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