Philosophy ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis is an exploration of the category of praxis in Marx’s philosophy. By means of this it is suggested that the category of praxis is the central category of Marx's philosophy and that it provides a means by which the development and unity of Marx’s work may be analyzed. The method of exposition is to discuss the definition and subdivisions of this category as found in Marx’s work. In the first chapter it is demonstrated that the category of praxis results from Marx's synthesis of Hegel's idealism and French materialism. Praxis is defined as sensuous human activity. In the following chapter the category of praxis is defined through an analysis of human activity. The distinction of human activity from animal activity is shown to exist in both Marx's earlier and later writings. In the third chapter, I develop three sub-categories of praxis, i.e. labor, consumption and useless activity. This sub-categorization is argued to be implicit in Marx. I argue that thinking was also considered by Marx to be a form of labor in this general sense. In the fourth chapter the divisions of the category of praxis which exist in the capitalist epoch are discussed. The purpose is to demonstrate that these distinctions form the basis for Marx’s understanding and his critique of capitalism. In the fifth chapter the result of the category of praxis, revolutionary praxis, is discussed. The possibility of changing the world for humanity is grasped and a moral obligation noted. In the final chapter this discussion is reviewed to suggest possible further areas of investigation.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Clark Lee

Second Committee Member

Carl Stern

Third Committee Member

Helena Eilstein



Document Type


Included in

Philosophy Commons