Pragmatism & Hope

Pragmatism and hope

Some notes made from Wicks & Freeman (1998)

Pragmatism & philosophy

. . . the purpose of philosophy is not to find foundational knowledge; it is to generate hope


. . . hope is optimism about the possibilities for the future

. . . hope is a disposition to experiment with alternative ways of livig that hold some promise to realize our aspirations and those of others


. . . experimenting with new ways of living

. . . finding more liberating vocabularies


. . . does this idea work in this place and at this time?

Politics are important

. . . what can those of us here now agree to?

Example: Karl Weick and sensemaking

  1. We can (and do) interpret events in different ways.
  2. How do we come to an agreement about why things are the way they are and what we can do about them?
  3. How does our understanding emerge from what we did and with whom? And from what each of us did and with whom?
  4. When we are in an unfamiliar situation, we impose ourselves on it to make sense. [Pragmatists emphasize that without noting the context, we cannot make sense of things or of the way we make sense about things.]
  5. A limiting boundary condition to the amount of change we can make is what we can understand and what people around us can understand


Wicks, A. C., & Freeman, R. E. (1998). Organization Studies and the New Pragmatism: Positivism, Anti-positivism, and the Search for Ethics. Organization Science, 9(2), 123–140.


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