Prominent figures among the school's founders include Gajo Petrović and Milan Kangrga of Zagreb and Mihailo Marković of Belgrade. From 1964 to 1974 they published the Marxist journal Praxis, which was renowned as one of the leading international journals in Marxist theory. Furthermore, the group organized the widely popular Korčula Summer School in the island of Korčula.
The Praxis philosophers considered Leninism and Stalinism to be apologetic due to their ad hoc nature. Leninist and Stalinist theory was considered to be unfaithful to the Marxist theory, adjusted according to the needs of the party elite and intolerant of ideological criticism.
The defining features of the school were: 1) emphasis on the writings of the young Marx; and 2) call for freedom of speech in both East and West based upon Marx's insistence on ruthless social critique. As Erich Fromm has argued in his preface to Marković's work From Affluence to Praxis, the theory of the Praxis theoreticians was to "return to the real Marx as against the Marx equally distorted by right wing social democrats and Stalinists".
Different theorists emphasized different aspects of the theory. Where Mihailo Marković writes of alienation and the dynamic nature of human beings, Petrović writes of philosophy as radical critique of all existing things, emphasizing the essentially creative and practical nature of human beings. Milan Kangrga emphasizes creativity as well, but also the understanding of human beings as producers humanizing nature.
Organizing Korčula Summer School and publishing the international edition of Praxis were ways to promote open inquiry in accordance with these postulates. Erich Fromm's collection of articles from 1965 entitled Socialist Humanism: An International Symposium has been of much help in promoting the Praxis school. As many as six members of the Praxis school have published articles in this collection: Marković, Petrović, Danilo Pejović, Veljko Korać, Rudi Supek and Predrag Vranicki.
Praxis has helped to restore the creative potential of Marxism. It drew inspiration from the works of Antonio Gramsci, Karl Korsch, Georg Lukacs, Ernst Bloch, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm and Lucien Goldmann. The texts in the magazine featured articles by writers from both the East and the West. Praxis editors had a strong tendency to publish articles that went against the Leninist theory and praxis promoted and enforced by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
The school was a meeting place for philosophers and social critics from the entire world. Some of the prominent attendees included Ernst Bloch, Eugen Fink, Erich Fromm, Jürgen Habermas, Richard Bernstein and Shlomo Avineri, to name a few. Another peculiarity is that one of the attendants was from the Vatican, Father Gustav Wetter, which testifies to the fact that Korčula Summer School was not merely a Marxist symposium - the attendees held interests ranging from phenomenology to theology.
The articles produced during the meeting were published in the journal during the following year. Each summer, the gathering focused on a particular topic:
Due to its critical nature - the editors and authors were referred to as "professional Anti-Communists" and "enemies of self-managing socialism" - the journal was banned on several occasions. By 1975 it became impossible to publish the journal under the increasingly repressive conditions in SFRY. In the same year, in January, eight university professors, members of the Praxis school (Mihailo Marković, Ljubomir Tadić, Zagorka Golubović, Svetozar Stojanović, Miladin Životić, Dragoljub Mićunović, Nebojša Popov and Trivo Inđić) were expelled from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade on the basis of a decision of the Serbian Assembly.
The Praxis members tried in several occasions to resume publishing of Praxis and reopening Korčula Summer School. Their efforts have failed, which was the main motive for several Praxis members to try to publish the journal abroad. They have succeeded in achieving this and by April 1981, the Praxis International journal was edited and published in Oxford in the spirit of the original Praxis journal. However, not all Praxis members supported this move. This move was supported by four members of the editorial board of the Praxis: Supek, Marković, Tadić and Stojanović. The majority of the Praxis theorists, however, led by Kangrga, disagreed on the basis of the fact that an international journal with the same or similar name as the original journal would reduce the possibilities of republishing the journal inside Yugoslavia. First co-editors of Praxis International were Richard J. Bernstein and Muhailo Marković. From 1986 the co-editors were Seyla Benhabib and Svetozar Stojanović.
Praxis International was published until January 1994 when it continued to be published under the name Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory. Editors of Constellations are Andrew Arato and Nancy Fraser.