is the process by which a theory
, lesson, or skill is enacted or practiced.
In Ancient Greek
the word praxis
(πρᾱξις) referred to activity engaged in by free men. Aristotle
held that there were three basic activities of man: theoria
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
. He also distinguished between eupraxia
(good praxis) and dyspraxia
(bad praxis, misfortune).
The concept of praxis is important in Marxist
thought. In fact, philosophy of praxis
was the name given to Marxism by 19th century socialist Antonio Labriola
. Marx himself stated in his Theses on Feuerbach
that "philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it." Simply put, Marx felt that philosophy's validity was in how it informed action.
Georg Lukács held that the task of political organization is to establish professional discipline over everyday political praxis, consciously designing the form of mediation best suited to clear interactions between theory and practice. As used by Paulo Freire, "praxis" is a synthesis of theory and practice in which each informs the other. Praxis is also a dominant theme in the political philosophy of Helmut Fleisher..
Praxis is used by educators to describe a recurring passage through a cyclical process of experiential learning
, such as the cycle described and popularised by David A. Kolb
Paulo Freire writes about praxis in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
In the BBC television documentary "New Order: Play At Home", Factory Records owner Tony Wilson describes praxis as "doing something, and then only afterwards, finding out why you did it".
Praxis is also key in meditation
, where emphasis is placed on gaining first-hand experience of concepts and certain areas, such as union with the Divine, which can only be explored through praxis due to the inability of the finite mind (and its tool, language) to comprehend or express the infinite. In an interview for YES! Magazine
, Matthew Fox
explained it this way:
- Wisdom is always taste -- in both Latin and Hebrew, the word for wisdom comes from the word for taste -- so it's something to taste, not something to theorize about. "Taste and see that God is good," the psalm says; and that's wisdom: tasting life. No one can do it for us. The mystical tradition is very much a Sophia tradition. It is about tasting and trusting experience, before institution or dogma.
According to Strong's Hebrew dictionary, the Hebrew word, ta‛am, is; properly a taste, that is, (figuratively) perception; by implication intelligence; transitively a mandate: - advice, behaviour, decree, discretion, judgment, reason, taste, understanding.
While praxis usually refers to the process of putting theoretical knowledge into practice, the strategic and organizational usage of the word emphasizes the need for a constant cycle of conceptualizing the meanings of what can be learned from experience in order to reframe strategic and operational models.
In social work
theory, praxis is the reflexive relationship between theories and action. It describes a cyclical process of social work interactions developing new theories and refining old ones, as well as theories directing the delivery of social work interactions.