Men at Work: Poesis, Politics and Labor in Aristotle and Some Aristotelians Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract In Book 3 of his Politics, and again in Book 7, Aristotle makes explicit his disdain for the banausos (often translated mechanic) as an occupation qualified for full civic life. Where modern admirers of Aristotle, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have taken him at face value concerning this topic and thus felt a need to distance themselves from him, I claim that the grounds that Aristotle offers for the exclusion of banausoi from citizenship are not consistent with other important teachings (found in the eighth book of the Politics as well as in several of his other writings) about the nature of poesis (productive science, which is the form of knowledge characteristic of the so-called mechanical arts). I further support this claim with reference to the role played by the mechanical arts within the Aristotelian framework of knowledge that one encounters in medieval European thought between the twelfth and the fourteenth centuries, with particular reference to Hugh of St. Victor, John of Salisbury, and Marsiglio of Padua.

published proceedings

  • Analyse & Kritik

author list (cited authors)

  • Nederman, C. J.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Nederman, Cary J

publication date

  • January 2008