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A theory of pragmatism holding that ideas and theories are instruments that function as guides for action or prediction, their validity determined by their degree of success rather than any criterion of truth.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Philosophy) a system of pragmatic philosophy holding that ideas are instruments, that they should guide our actions and can change the world, and that their value consists not in their truth but in their success
2. (Philosophy) an antirealist philosophy of science that holds that theories are not true or false but are merely tools for deriving predictions from observational data
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌɪn strəˈmɛn tlˌɪz əm)

a variety of pragmatism maintaining that the truth of an idea is determined by its success in the active solution of a problem and that the value of ideas is determined by their function in human experience.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


a pragmatic philosophy holding that it is the function of thought to be a means to the control of environment, and that the value and truthfulness of ideas is determined by their usefulness in human experience or progress. — instrumentalist, n., adj.
See also: Philosophy
the concept that ideas and thoughts are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth. — instrumentalist, adj.
See also: Ideas
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.instrumentalism - a system of pragmatic philosophy that considers idea to be instruments that should guide our actions and their value is measured by their success
pragmatism - (philosophy) the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pakistan's economic mangers (henchmen) have to realise that sustainable growth depends on harnessing the lowest tiers of society through participatory instrumentalism. If their theories and policies were correct, Pakistan's economy should have grown a thousand times over.
The way Friedman deprived ideal types of their correspondence with the actual properties of economic agents is introduced as a strong point in favour of his instrumentalism. Thus, this paper joins the ongoing realism-instrumentalism debate over F53 on the instrumentalist side.
Even the popular political thriller Scandal, they say, is a moral dystopia that finds its drama in radically individualistic people, each seeking their individual power rather than the common good, and thus ultimately landing upon another pathology of Secular modernity, instrumentalism.
Yet many value theorists outside epistemology deny that all derivative value is grounded in instrumental relations to fundamental value (instrumentalism).
While on the other hand, Paul Brass in his book Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison (1991) asserted that elites mobilise people and stimulate their ethnic sentiments primarily for their own purposes and interests ndash Brass called it as instrumentalism.
The first and foremost indicator of this instrumentalism was the assassination of Gandhi at the hands of Nathuram Godse - an active member of RSS on January 30, 1948.
Instrumentalism and utilitarianism threaten what I see as sociology's most crucial role in civil society: to question orthodoxy, whether in the state, social movements, or sociology itself.
However, this is also the age of change, of relativism even in values and principles a time of moral pragmatism and instrumentalism in which corruptly obtained wealth is often praised and successful school dropouts venerated.
He contends that the idiom, when seen as a vocal genre, consists of a synthesis of complicated rhythms, intonational systems, motivic developments, song structure, performance practices, textures, orchestrations, and instrumentalism, within the wider context of all vocalizing styles.
In spite of the book's minor faults, Henley makes an undeniably compelling case with his congruent and rational argument for the primacy of rural and pro-poor development, its precedence over industrialization, and ultimately, its instrumentalism in sustaining economic growth in Southeast Asia, which set it on a development path that has remained a suitable benchmark for African development.
South Sudan's neighbours, who had long exchanged their pan-African liberation solidarities with cold, hard neoliberal instrumentalism, regarded Juba as an investment destination that promised fantastic returns.
McKinnell's essay draws out Midgley's feminism, arguing that although she did not conceive of herself as a 'full-time feminist', Midgley's work advances critical feminist aims: exposing gender biases in human thought; carving out space for a more relational conception of persons; and criticising the narrow instrumentalism that so often undergirds the exploitation of women and others, human and non-human alike.