For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Nicomachean Ethics

by Aristotle (1926)

Key Passage

Also happiness is thought to involve leisure; (vi) and most leisured; for we do business in order that we may have leisure, and carry on war in order that we may have peace. Now the practical virtues are exercised in politics or in warfare; but the pursuits of politics and war seem to be unleisured—those of war indeed entirely so, for no one desires to be at war for the sake of being at war, nor deliberately takes steps to cause a war: a man would be thought an utterly blood-thirsty character if he declared war on a friendly state for the sake of causing battles and massacres. But the activity of the politician also is unleisured, and aims at securing something beyond the mere participation in politics—positions of authority and honour, or, if the happiness of the politician himself and of his fellow-citizens, this happiness conceived as something distinct from political activity (indeed 7we are clearly investigating it as so distinct). (p.615)


Aristotle, Ethics, Ancient Greece, Art, Leisure, Politics, Warfare, Military, Happiness


Aristotle Citations, Ancient Greece

Links to Reference


Rackham, H.



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