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instrumentalism Syllabification: in·stru·men·tal·ism
Pronunciation: /ˌinstrəˈmen(t)lizəm/

Definition of instrumentalism in English:


1A pragmatic philosophical approach that regards an activity (such as science, law, or education) chiefly as an instrument or tool for some practical purpose, rather than in more absolute or ideal terms, in particular.
Example sentences
  • According to instrumentalism, theoretical science is no more than a complicated instrument for making predictions about the observable, physical world.
  • Science, for all its instrumentalism, is not, at its best, in conflict with aesthetics but in conspiracy with it.
  • Plato's idealism regarding perfect Forms is linked to a type of instrumentalism.
1.1 Philosophy The pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey that supposes that thought is an instrument for solving practical problems and that truth is not fixed but changes as the problems change.
Example sentences
  • One might be called pragmatic utilitarianism or instrumentalism.
  • The most influential formulation of this idea was Dewey's instrumentalism.
  • Dewey's instrumentalism was both a theory and a method of inquiry for solving problems and for generating truth, or what he called warranted assertion.
1.2(Especially in Marxist theory) the view that the state and social organizations are tools that are exploited by the ruling class or by individuals in their own interests.
Example sentences
  • Under capitalism, then, production pressures instrumentalism to undergo a critical metamorphosis though remaining goal-oriented, for the desire for making becomes further complicated by the desire to accumulate wealth.
  • This instrumentalism has naturalized the division of labor under capitalism and led to an increased decentralization in governing communities and alienation among individuals.
  • If those words can be used interchangeably, then it would be incorrect to state that the use of instrumentalism is absent in modern policy economics.
2 Music , rare Instrumental technique.
Example sentences
  • He built track after track of weaving hip hop instrumentalism laced with guitar and sampled guitar byproducts while a mystified audience looked on with head-nodding appreciation.
  • I think what I like about the best Goth stuff - like the best Punk - is that it is extremely tuneful, and also has complex instrumentalism.
  • That said, the instrumentalism alone on this album makes it a good listen.
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