Good work

Clark, Sam (2017) Good work. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 34 (1). pp. 61-73. ISSN 0264-3758

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Work is on one side a central arena of self-making, self-understanding, and self-development, and on the other a deep threat to our flourishing. My question is: what kind of work is good for human beings, and what kind bad? I first characterise work as necessary productive activity. My answer to my question then develops a perfectionist account of the human good: (1) the good is the full development and expression of human potentials and capacities; (2) this development and expression happens over a lifetime through appropriate practice. Work is thus a problem of human development, and I address that problem by considering three central human capacities: that we are passionate choosers, skilled makers, and social negotiators. For each, I ask: what does this capacity need from our work if it is to develop towards full and flourishing expression? Answering that question leads to a three-part account of good work as requiring: (1) a distinctive kind of pleasure, involving both unselfconscious flow and supervisory self-attention; (2) skill, which I describe via the ideal of craft; and (3) democracy, which I define as a form of life in which each is able to develop and use both expressive and receptive capacities.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Clark, S. (2015), Good Work. Journal of Applied Philosophy. doi: 10.1111/japp.12137 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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?? philosophy ??
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Deposited On:
18 Jun 2015 05:45
Last Modified:
13 Jun 2024 00:57