Group Coordinator: José Gomes André


The mission of the Practical Philosophy Group (Praxis) is to carry out high quality research on philosophical issues with deep practical significance, focusing on areas such as Ethics, Political Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Law. Topics considered include:


(1) The origin, meaning and relevance of values in Modern Thought, the conceptual frame of axiology in Contemporary Philosophy, and the analysis of ethical models and its application in the societal experience;

(2) Philosophical examination of political phenomena, both in its historical aspect (social contract theory, the rise of democracy, the idea of the modern State, ideological and political frameworks such as communism, liberalism and federalism), and conceptual meaning (ideas of justice and the good in society, the nature of political interaction);

(3) The study of the environment in its philosophical meaning, namely in the contemporary world; topics such as climate change and sustainable development are considered in its relation with philosophical approaches to the idea of nature, the link between technology and modern life, the natural world and human’s place within it.;

(4) The meaning of art in a philosophical frame, exploring questions such as the nature of beauty, taste, judges of sentiment in art, the study of subjective values in the aesthetical experience, and a critical reflection on the impact of art and culture in modern societies.

(5) The philosophical examination of religious traditions, the nature of religion as a whole, and the study of the metaphysical aspects of it, such as the idea of God, the sacred, rituals and beliefs. The Praxis group has a particular interest in Philosophy of Eastern Religions.

(6) The study of Philosophy of Law, namely questions regarding the validity of legal systems, the nature of norms, and the relationship between morality, law and obligation.


The Praxis group promotes research in this areas by:

  • Raising the number of researchers and their qualification;
  • Developing projects of excellence to stimulate research and relevant scientific production;
  • Organizing scientific events;
  •  Structuring programs of debate, study and research in the topics aforementioned, such as regular seminars;
  • Promoting original research to be published in international journals and publishers with peer review.


The Praxis Group includes experienced as well as young researchers, who use diverse tools of philosophical investigation, such as comparative analysis, phenomenology, and conceptual description. This use of a broad range of philosophical approaches is crucial to promote a better understanding of the close link between practical and theoretical philosophical problems and topics, and to create bridges between the study of the history of philosophy, and the reflection on contemporary issues of a philosophical nature.


The Praxis Group has conducted several research projects, such as:

  • Ethics: Theory and Practice (2010-2013); Principal Investigator: Cristina Beckert.
  • Philosophy and Landscape Architecture (2010-2013); Principal Investigator: Adriana Veríssimo Serrão.
  • Scientific Culture: Conceptual Migrations and Social Contaminations (2004-2007); Principal Investigator: Olga Pombo.
  • Self-experience, Belief, and Communication (1999-2001); Principal Investigator: João Paisana.
  • Subject and Passivity (1999-2001); Principal Investigator: José Miranda Justo.


Current research project underway:

  • Experimentation and Dissidence; Principal Investigator: José Miranda Justo.


FCT Investigators who are members of the Praxis Group:

  • Emanuele Mariani
  • Katia Dawn Hay Rodgers


Researchers of the Praxis Group currently holding FCT scholarships:

  • Dirk-Michael Hennrich (post-doctoral);
  • Bruno Peixe Dias (PhD);
  • Maribel de Jesus Mendes Sobreira (PhD);
  • Paulo Fernando Rocha Antunes (PhD);
  • Sandra Cristina Taveira Escobar (PhD).