Work allows man to extend his hold on nature

Technique is specific to man according to Aristotle.

“Animals other than man live reduced to images and memories; they participate only weakly in empirical knowledge[empeiria], while the human race rises to art [technè] and reasoning.” Aristotle, Metaphysics, A, 980 b-981a

René Descartes in the Discourse on Method notes that knowledge can bring good to humanity. From then on, it is even a duty for a man to make his fellow men benefit from his work and his know-how. Thus René Descartes invites us in a famous form to make us “like masters and possessors of nature”.

“As soon as I had acquired some general notions concerning physics, and that, beginning to test them in particular various difficulties, I noticed how far they can lead, and how much they differ from the principles which have been used until now, I thought that I could not keep them hidden without sinning greatly against the law which obliges us to procure, as much as it is in us, the general good of all men. For they show that it is possible to arrive at knowledge which is very useful to life, and that instead of this speculative philosophy, which is taught in schools, we can find a practical one, by which, knowing the force and actions of fire, water, air, the stars, the heavens and all the other bodies that surround us, as distinctly as we know the various trades of our craftsmen, we could use them in the same way for all the uses to which they are appropriate and thus make ourselves as masters and possessors of nature. “René Descartes, Discourse on Method, Part VI, 1637

This desire to possess nature, to submit it to reason, is opposed to a certain ancient heritage that posits nature as an ideal environment, allowing for harmony with mankind.

General Knowledge: work