While reading The Grapes of Wrath with my class this month, I introduced the idea of pragmatism to the students. I used the two primary facets of this philosophy to help analyze the novel. These two characteristics of pragmatism are: 1) truth is mutable, and 2) things become true by verification (experience).

If truth is relative and ever-changing, then there are no absolutes.

With this in mind, I just saw a film which epitomizes this philosophical position: Gone Baby Gone. I can’t say much or else the surprises are given away, but watch the film and decide what you would have done at the film’s conclusion. Please let me know in a reply. I’d love to hear read your thoughts.

If you do post anything about the ending, please begin your post with the word “Spolier,” so others know whether or not to read any further.


2 thoughts on “Pragmatism

  1. mrschili

    OH. MY. GOD. Doc, email me about this: I’ve been thinking about Gone Baby Gone for WEEKS now – ever since we rented it – and I’m DYING to talk about it!

  2. David Schleicher

    What an interesting film to use to discuss such a philosophy! I think the ending really shows the “relativity” of the moral dilemmas faced in the film. Relativist arguments could be made that the decision Casey Affleck’s character makes in the end is both good and bad, assuming good and bad are not absolute and are defined by the specifics of the situation.

    For more of my thoughts on the film, here is my original review of it when it was in theaters:

    P.S. I have added your very thought-provoking blog to my blogroll.


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