The Preeminence of Use: Reevaluating the Relation Between Use and Exchange in Aristotle’s Economic Thought

Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (4):pp. 523-548 (2009)
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Aristotle’s economic thinking in the Nicomachean Ethics 5.5 and Politics 1 provides one of the earliest analyses of the economic nature exchange. Establishing the significance of Aristotle in this area has often led modern commentators to equate Aristotle’s descriptive analysis of use and exchange to the definitions of use-value and exchange-value as it is found in Karl Marx. In this article, I show that Aristotle’s understanding of use and exchange is qualitatively different from this interpretation, focusing in particular on the ethical nature of use and how, for Aristotle, exchange is an extension of practical deliberation.



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