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Praxis (Ancient Greek: πρᾶξις) is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized. "Praxis" may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practising 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, Antonio Gramsci, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Paulo Freire, Ludwig von Mises, and many others. It has meaning in the political, educational, and spiritual realms.
In Ancient Greek the word praxis (πρᾶξις) referred to activity engaged in by free people. The philosopher Aristotle held that there were three basic activities of humans: theoria (thinking), poiesis (making), and praxis (doing). Corresponding to these activities were three types of knowledge: theoretical, the end goal being truth; poietical, the end goal being production; and practical, the end goal being action. Aristotle further divided the knowledge derived from praxis into ethics, economics and politics. He also distinguished between eupraxia (εὐπραξία, "good praxis") and dyspraxia (δυσπραξία, "bad praxis, misfortune").
Young Hegelian philosopher August Cieszkowski was one of the earliest philosophers to use the term praxis as meaning "action oriented towards changing society" in his 1838 work Prolegomena zur Historiosophie (Prolegomena to a Historiosophy). The 19th century socialist Antonio Labriola called Marxism the "philosophy of praxis". This description of Marxism would appear again in Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks and the writings of the members of the Frankfurt School.
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