Book Review of Praxiology

An Introduction to the Sciences of Efficient Action, by Tadeusz Kotarbinski

by Paul T. McClure


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Kotarbinski presents a general theory of efficient action called praxiology. The word comes from the Greek [praxis], meaning action. Kotarbinski's basic building block is the act, consisting of an impulse, some subsequent event, and a causal bond. He develops directives for efficient action and describes techniques of cooperation and struggle. His final chapter on the dynamics of progress in technical improvements notes that the compulsory situation is a prerequisite to progress. Praxiology is broad in terms of applicability — all social action, determination of goals, conditions involving reality, and means adjusted to both goals and reality. Although perhaps useful for policy determination, evaluation, and implementation, praxiology is only one of many needed conceptual approaches. A glossary of praxiological terms is included. Kotarbinski's book was translated from the Polish by Olgierd Wojtasiewicz, Pergamon Press, New York, in 1965. The book review will be published in Policy Sciences, Summer 1970.

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