Home > General > Logos [12-31-09]

Logos [12-31-09]

“As a preliminary approach, however, it may be said that to philosophize is to act in such a way that one steps out of the workaday world.  The next thing to do is to define what is meant by the workaday world, and then what is meant by going beyond that sphere.

“The workaday world is the world of work, the utilitarian world, the world of the useful, subject to ends, open to achievement and subdivided according to functions; it is the world of demand and supply, of hunger and satiety.  It is dominated by a single end: the satisfaction of the ‘common need’; it is the world of work in so far as work is synonymous with doing things for useful ends (so hat effort and activity are characteristic of the workaday world).  Work is the process of satisfying the ‘common need’–an expression that is by no means synonymous with the notion of ‘common good’.  The ‘common need’ is an essential part of the ‘common good’; but the notion of ‘common good’ is far more comprehensive.  For example, the ‘common good’ requires (as Aquinas says) that there should be men who devote themselves to the ‘useless’ life of contemplation, and, equally, that some men should philosophize–whereas it could not be said that contemplation or philosophy helps to satisfy the ‘common need’.

“More and more, at the present time, ‘common good’ and ‘common need’ are identified; and (what comes to the same thing) the world of work is becoming our entire world; it threatens to engulf us completely, and the demands of the world of work become greater and greater, till at last they make a ‘total’ claim upon the whole of human nature.”
-Josef Pieper, The Philosophical Act

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