Vincentian Pragmatism: Toward a Method for Systemic Change


Scott Kelley creates the term Vincentian Pragmatism and defines it as “Vincent [de Paul]’s way of proceeding . . . [it is] an integrated and holistic way of knowing that is capable of systemic change.” He writes, “Vincentian Pragmatism must also inform the way we engage, identify, explore, interpret, and decide in response to the complex systems that exacerbate poverty. It must unite action and contemplation.” Kelley identifies questions we must ask to pursue Vincentian epistemology and explains how Vincent developed it from his own experience. The process of overcoming our biases and forming a Vincentian worldview is also examined. Vincentian Pragmatism has five components of action: “begin attentively, explore openly, interpret imaginatively, decide responsibly, and act courageously.” These are discussed in detail. Together, they are a way of truly understanding the causes and nature of poverty and strategizing for effective solutions. Different aspects of strategy are described.

“Vincentian Pragmatism: Toward a Method for Systemic Change” is an article by Scott Kelley, Ph.D., published in 2012 in the Vincentian Heritage Journal, Volume 31, Issue 2, Article 2, pp. 41-63, and it is available at: