For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work


by Aristotle (1932)

Key Passage

We must therefore consider the list Six necessary functions, of occupations that a state requires: for from these it will appear what the indispensable classes are. First then a state must have a supply of food; secondly, handicrafts (since life needs many tools); third, arms (since the members of the association must necessarily possess arms both to use among themselves and for purposes of government, in cases of insubordination, and to employ against those who try to molest them from without); also a certain supply of money, in order that they may have enough both for their internal needs and for requirements of war; fifth, a primary need, the service of religion, termed a priesthood; and sixth in number and most necessary of all, a provision for deciding questions of interests and of rights between the 5citizens. These then are the occupations that and six corresponding classes virtually every state requires (for the state is not any chance multitude of people but one self-sufficient for the needs of life, as we say, and if any of these industries happens to be wanting, it is impossible for that association to be absolutely self-sufficient). (p.571)


Ancient Greece, Aristotle, Slavery, Citizenship, Virtue, Artisan, Craftsmanship, Function, State, Military, Social Class


Aristotle Citations, Ancient Greece

Links to Reference


Rackham, H.



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