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What's the difference between a realist and a pragmatist?

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liberation posted on Tue, Oct 23 2012 6:02 AM

I read in an article. But can't comprehend it even with the dictionary. Could you help?
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Suggested by ahall12

A realist sees things the way they are.

A pragmatist assumes how things are is the way they'll always be.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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Bert replied on Tue, Oct 23 2012 6:48 AM

To understand what the difference between the subscribers are you need to know the difference in philosophies.

My understanding of pragmatism comes from William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience and he further expands in Essays in Radical Empiricism (have this but not read it yet).  This is where theory arises from practice and is put back at the practice itself (this works, why does it work? apply answer back to practice).  Though I only know of pragmatism in the field of religion

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Both those terms, realist and pragmatist, are meant as praise, implying anyone who disagrees with the pragmatic realist is living in a fantasy world.

One might say the difference is akin to the difference between pure and applied math.

The term realist is used when talking about understanding the world, the realist being smart and the idealist being stupid.

Pragmatist is used when talking about the proper actions to be taken, the pragmatist interested in getting the job done, the idealist in unproductive insistence on principle.

Thus the realist knows tyrants are evil, the idealist thinks they are basically good guys with some fixable eccentricities.

The pragmatist will cut a deal with a tyrant to get some advantage, the idealist never would, because it is morally repugnant.

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It's easy to refute an argument if you first misrepresent it. William Keizer

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I kind of get it like 50-50. No problem.
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