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Praxis and Action

Contemporary Philosophies of Human Activity

By Richard J. Bernstein

Publication Year: 1971

From the Introduction:

This inquiry is concerned with the themes of praxis and action in four philosophic movements: Marxism, existentialism, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy. It is rare that these four movements are considered in a single inquiry, for there are profound differences of emphasis, focus, terminology, and approach represented by these styles of thought. Many philosophers believe that similarities among these movements are superficial and that a close examination of them will reveal only hopelessly unbridgeable cleavages. While respecting the genuine fundamental differences of these movements, this inquiry is undertaken in the spirit of showing that there are important common themes and motifs in what first appears to be a chaotic babble of voices. I intend to show that the concern with man as an agent has been a primary focal point of each of these movements and further that each contributes something permanent and important to our understanding of the nature and context of human activity.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page

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pp. iii-

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-

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Preface to the New Edition

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pp. ix-xii

Praxis ans action was originally published in 1971, but it represents the culmination of my thinking during the previous decade. Although it is difficult to recapture the mood of philosophy in America at that time, it was a period when...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xix

THE TITLE OF THIS BOOK, "Praxis and Action," may seem redundant, but the redundancy is intentional. The Greek term "praxis" has an ordinary meaning that roughly corresponds to the ways in which we now commonly

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

THIS INQUIRY IS CONCERNED with the themes of praxis and action in four philosophic movements: Marxism, existentialism, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy. It is rare that these four movements are considered in a single inquiry,..

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Part I. Praxis: Marx and the Hegelian Background

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pp. 11-83

THE CHIEF DEFECT of all previous materialism (including Feuerbach's) is that the object, actuality, sensuousness is conceived only in the form of the object or perception [Anschauung], but not as sensuous human activity, practice [Praxis], nor subjectively. Hence in opposition to materialism the active side was developed by idealism-but only abstractly ...

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Part II. Consciousness, Existence, and Action: Kierkegaard and Sartre

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pp. 84-164

I ARGUED in Part I that Marx's distinctive orientation emerges from a radical critique of Hegel's philosophy. The dominant concept of praxis in Marx represents a dialectical transformation of Hegel's Geist, and Marx's own analysis of the conflict of classes can be read as a critical commentary on Hegel's brief, but penetrating, analysis ...

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Part III. Action, Conduct, and Inquiry: Peirce and Dewey

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pp. 165-229

IN MY DISCUSSIONS of Marx, Kierkegaard, and Sartre, I began by first exploring relevant aspects of Hegel's thought which set the "problematic" for their own investigations of human action. In the case of Marx, this approach enabled me to clarify the dialectical context of his theory of..

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Part IV. The Concept of Action: Analytic Philosophy

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pp. 230-304

MARXISME, EXISTENTIALISM, AND PRAGMATISM are all deeply rooted in nineteenth-century philosophy. One who is unfamiliar with this philosophic tradition-especially as developed during the period from Kant to Hegel-would be at...

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Epilogue

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pp. 305-320

IN APPROACHING THE END of this inquiry, I have arrived only at a beginning. My primary concern has been to present fair, sympathetic, although critical interpretations of each of the four positions...

Bibliography

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pp. 321-333

Index of Names

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pp. 334-336

Index of Subjects

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pp. 337-344


E-ISBN-13: 9780812205497
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812210163

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 1971