Sunday, March 15, 2009

Aristotle and the Business

(Translated from Aristote et l'entreprise)

When the name of Aristotle is uttered, many ears close. How boring! How pretentious! And yet, if we speak like students in a high school, he was not so stupid, this Aristotle…

Consider the four types of causes he has counted: final, formal, material, moving (or efficient) cause. For a long time I did not understand them, but as I kept some memories of the course in philosophy I could see that computerization was the material cause of the financial crisis (see Comprendre la crise) because it has made this crisis possible - and if you cogitate a little, you understand that once the crisis was possible, it was in fact inevitable.

Wondering what place could play in our businesses the three other types of causes, I discovered to my surprise that they stack in a familiar pattern.

If Aristotle were alive today, he certainly would be interested in the business, because it is the locus of the action of mankind in the biosphere - but French philosophers, in their majority, prefer to denigrate business rather than observing it.