For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Nicomachean Ethics

by Aristotle (1926)

Key Passage

The class of things that admit of variation includes Art. both things made and actions done. But making is different from doing (a distinction we may accept from extraneous discourses). Hence the rational quality concerned with doing is different from the rational quality concerned with making. Nor is one of them a part of the other, for doing is not a form of making, nor making a form of doing. Now architectural skill, for instance, is an art, and it is also a rational quality concerned with making; nor is there any art which is not a rational quality concerned with making, nor any such quality which is not an art. It follows that an art is the same thing as a rational quality, concerned with making, that reasons truly. All Art deals with bringing some thing into existence; and to pursue an art means to study how to bring into existence a thing which may either exist or not, and the efficient cause of which lies in the maker and not in the thing made; for Art does not deal with things that exist or come into existence of necessity, or according to nature, since these have their efficient cause in themselves. But as doing and making are distinct, it follows that Art, being concerned with making, is not concerned with doing. And in a sense Art deals with the same objects as chance, as Agathon says:Chance is beloved of Art, and Art of Chance.Art, therefore, as has been said, is a rational quality, concerned with making, that reasons truly.   (p.335)

Keywords

Aristotle, Ethics, Ancient Greece, Art, Science, Economy, Military

Themes

Aristotle Citations, Work in Ancient Greece

Links to Reference

Translator

Rackham, H.

Citation


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