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Beyond The Dichotomy: Praxis And Poiesis

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Chapter Summary

The conceptual dichotomy of poiesis and praxis, of making and doing, with the associated distinction between techne and phronesis, technical skill and practical reason, occupies a prominent place among those peripatetic ideas which contemporary philosophical thought frequently resuscitates as especially relevant to our present situation. The distinction between praxis and poiesis-as we know from the exegetic literature-is beset in Aristotle with a number of serious interpretative difficulties and paradoxes. The author has attempted to provide some basis for the suspicion that there may be something questionable and misleading in the classical and renewed attempt to categorically separate action proper and production, doings and makings, as two fundamentally opposed classes of human activities. The fundamental distinction between doings and makings is usually envisaged-and this is so even in the classical tradition itself-as one concerning a fundamental difference in the objective structure of different types of actions.

Keywords: Aristotle; dichotomy; phronesis; poiesis; praxis; techne

10.1163/ej.9789004202405.i-666.8
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