Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Work Ethic


It is interesting to me that the concept of the "work ethic" is not well-covered by philosophers until recent times. Even then it tends to be less the work of academic philosophers and more the work of politicians or people working in the "social sciences". Perhaps we're all just too scared by the idea we might be the only ones slacking off :)

Plato, for example, suggested we should each do what we are best at, and suggested that we should take a healthy attititude to work, and that's more or less where the matter has stood for 3000 years. Only the occasional few suggest that we should be as lazy as possible, and even those authors don't propose that everyone should do it.

It is a little like the theory of knowledge. How are we to know if we are doing the most suitable kind of work? What kind of remuneration should we demand? Are we doing an appropriate quantity of work, at an appropriate quality? How should we objectively judge our standards, or are standards of workmanship as relative as morality or fashion?

Food for thought.



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