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  1. William L. McBride

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee539

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

McBride, W. L. 2013. Praxis. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


The philosophical importance of this term is traceable in the first instance to Aristotle (see Aristotle), in the English translations of whose writings it is often rendered as “action.” He distinguishes praxis from two other concepts of comparable generality: poiesis, which means making or producing, and theoria, contemplation. Ethics, for Aristotle, is the study of practical activity with a view to becoming good, and not for the sake of achieving theoretical knowledge. This contrast between theoria and praxis, theory and practice, has served as a leitmotif throughout much of the history of Western philosophy.


  • agency;
  • Aristotle;
  • humanism;
  • Marxism;
  • normative ethics;
  • practical reason;
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul