For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Interest and Effort in Education

by Dewey, John (2008)

Key Passage

There seems to be no better name for the acts of using intermediate means, or appliances, to reach ends than work. When employed in this way, however, work must be distinguished from labor and from toil and drudgery. Labor means a form of work in which the direct result accomplished is of value only as a means of exchange for something else. It is an economic term, being applied to that form of work where the product is paid for, and the money paid is used for objects of more direct values. Toil implies unusual arduousness in a task, involving fatigue. Drudgery is an activity which in itself is quite disagreeable, performed under the constraint of some quite extraneous need. Play and work cannot, therefore, be distinguished from one another according to the presence or absence of direct interest in what is doing. (p.189)


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