Praxis (process)  

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"This singularly modern idea—which resurges periodically in later philosophy, for example in Kant's conception of the 'ideas' of reason, in Kierkegaard's notion of the 'leap' of faith, in the neo-Marxist theory of praxis and in the existentialist concept of commitment—possesses less philosophical merit than rhetorical impact." --A Short History of Modern Philosophy (1982) by Roger Scruton

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realised. "Praxis" may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas. This has been a recurrent topic in the field of philosophy, discussed in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Paulo Freire, Ludwig von Mises, and many others. It has meaning in the political, educational, and spiritual realms.

Origins

In Ancient Greek the word praxis (πρᾶξις) referred to activity engaged in by free men. Aristotle held that there were three basic activities of man: theoria, poiesis and praxis. There corresponded to these kinds of activity three types of knowledge: theoretical, to which the end goal was truth; poietical, to which the end goal was production; and practical, to which the end goal was action. Aristotle further divided practical knowledge into ethics, economics and politics. He also distinguished between eupraxia (εὐπραξία, "good praxis") and dyspraxia (δυσπραξία, "bad praxis, misfortune").

Hannah Arendt

In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt argues that Western philosophy too often has focused on the contemplative life (vita contemplativa) and has neglected the active life (vita activa). This has led humanity to frequently miss much of the everyday relevance of philosophical ideas to real life. Arendt calls “praxis” the highest and most important level of the active life. Thus, she argues that more philosophers need to engage in everyday political action or praxis, which she sees as the true realization of human freedom. According to Arendt, our capacity to analyze ideas, wrestle with them, and engage in active praxis is what makes us uniquely human.

"Arendt's theory of action and her revival of the ancient notion of praxis represent one of the most original contributions to twentieth century political thought." "Moreover, by viewing action as a mode of human togetherness, Arendt is able to develop a conception of participatory democracy which stands in direct contrast to the bureaucratized and elitist forms of politics so characteristic of the modern epoch."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Praxis (process)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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