The term praxis is one of Aristotle’s three main categories action, alongside poiesis and theoria. Praxis is taken to mean doing or acting, rather than making (poiesis) or thinking (theoria). Each form of action is associated with a characteristic form of knowing: theoria with episteme; poiesis with techne; and praxis with phronesis.

For Marx and later Marxist writers, praxis is contrasted with wage labour. Praxis is free, conscious, creative human activity, which alone is capable of generating knowledge and creating change in the social order.

Interesting contributions to the concept of praxis have been made by Jurgen Habermas and, particularly, Hannah Arendt, who revises Aristotle’s and Marx’s categorisations in her discussion of labour, work and action.

Further reading

Dunne, J. (1997). Back to the rough ground: practical judgment and the lure of technique. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Melaney, W. D. (2006), Arendt’s Revision of Praxis: On Plurality and Narrative Experience. Analecta Husserliana90, pp. 465-479.

Pilario, D.F. (2005). The Adventures of praxis: a critical encounter of three traditions. In: Back to the rough grounds of praxis: exploring theological method with Pierre Bourdieu. Leuven, Belgium: University of Leuven Press, 1–97.


edited 6 September, 2016 by Admin

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