It is my understanding that Aristotle believed one shouldn't work too many hours in the day (I am currently having a hard time finding any references on this, sorry). He (or maybe this was just the culture of his time) believed this is because he placed quite a bit of value on social and political obligations outside of one's work.

Given this, what would Aristotle think about Facebook? Facebook is where many people do most of their socializing these days, and there is a lot of political discussion and news. However, the well-known downside of Facebook is that it promotes a shortened attention span, shallow relationships with less face-to-face time, and excessive amounts of time spent on useless things (cat videos and memes?), among other things.

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    On what gorunds do you think hat we can "really" discuss suach an issue ? Facebook is so new that is totally "unintelligible" with the "tools" available at A's time (maybe it is difficult to understand even with today's "tools"...) Jan 1, 2019 at 18:00
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    A stressed the necessity to "spend time" searching for wisdom : this is why the "citizen" (at A times a very very little percentage of humans) does not work. Jan 1, 2019 at 18:03
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    btw, did you try google? there's a few articles which seem, cursorily, more like social science
    – user35983
    Jan 1, 2019 at 19:29
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    Let's not be too hasty in conflating Facebook with R&R. Facebook is one of many options. It would obviously take Aristotle some time to get up to speed regarding social media. Once he understood it, I suspect he'd pull the plug. I think many thinking people have come to regard Facebook as an intellectual sewer. Jan 2, 2019 at 1:53
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    I think he'd say it all depends how we use it. The same question might be asked about this site since we all use it in different ways.
    – user20253
    Jan 2, 2019 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


Politics, VII and Nicomachean Ethics, X, are the main texts in which Aristotle discussed the place of leisure in a civilised life. The discussion in Politics is of most relevance here.

Aristotle valued leisure on several grounds. Those who are employed have reduced time for learning and reflection about matters relating among other things to public affairs. A life dominated by employment is also an employment in which one takes orders, obeys instructions, rather than learns the capacity to self-manage and to engage on equal terms with others. None of this is a good preparation for self-governing citizenship or participatory politics.

Aristotle's model of citizenship was one in which face-to-face discourse, reflective argument or discussion, were key elements. In such discourse one is bound to take other viewpoints adequately into account; and to take responsibility for what one says. Facebook offers only a pale imitation of face-to-face discourse, reflective argument or discussion; it also does not bring participants to account for what they have said unless they choose suitably to reply; and it offers no encouragement to take other viewpoints adequately into account rather than merely to state or over-state one's own.

I cannot see Aristotle's regarding Facebook as his preferred medium of collective discussion.

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