[ in-struh-men-tl-iz-uhm ]
/ ˌɪn strəˈmɛn tlˌɪz əm /

noun Philosophy.

the variety of pragmatism developed by John Dewey, maintaining that the truth of an idea is determined by its success in the active solution of a problem and that the value of ideas is determined by their function in human experience.

Origin of instrumentalism

First recorded in 1905–10; instrumental + -ism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for instrumentalism

British Dictionary definitions for instrumentalism

/ (ˌɪnstrəˈmɛntəˌlɪzəm) /


a system of pragmatic philosophy holding that ideas are instruments, that they should guide our actions and can change the world, and that their value consists not in their truth but in their success
an antirealist philosophy of science that holds that theories are not true or false but are merely tools for deriving predictions from observational data
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012