Definition of instrumentalism in English:



mass noun
  • 1A pragmatic philosophical approach which 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.

    • ‘Plato's idealism regarding perfect Forms is linked to a type of instrumentalism.’
    • ‘Science, for all its instrumentalism, is not, at its best, in conflict with aesthetics but in conspiracy with it.’
    • ‘Introduction American law students learn about formalism and instrumentalism early on - although those particular terms may not be introduced explicitly in classroom discussion.’
    • ‘According to instrumentalism, theoretical science is no more than a complicated instrument for making predictions about the observable, physical world.’
    • ‘The article provides an in-depth analysis of the complex dynamics between the socialist ideology, economic efficiency and legal instrumentalism in China.’
    1. 1.1Philosophy The pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey which supposes that thought is an instrument for solving practical problems, and that truth is not fixed but changes as the problems change.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One might be called pragmatic utilitarianism or instrumentalism.’
      • ‘The most influential formulation of this idea was Dewey's instrumentalism.’
  • 2Music
    Instrumental technique.

    • ‘And that verse breaks down to a bridge of more spacey instrumentalism and a bass drum keeping time to spastically bending strings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That said, the instrumentalism alone on this album makes it a good listen.’