In the course of history the essence of work has been approached, and described, from many sides; at different times different aspects of it have predominated in philosophy and everyday thinking. Naturally these approaches were related to one another, for they were all approaches to one and the same phenomenon; yet people were not always aware of the interrelationships, or of their significance. Taken in historical - not substantive - order, these approaches were as follows:
(1) description and analysis of the structure of work, of the process of some work-cycle;
(2) the ethical interpretation of work; (3) discovery of the social function of work; (4) analysis of work as a basic category of human anthropology; (5) labour’s contradictory effect on man, both developing and
stunting him, and the disclosure of this conflict; (6) the introduction of the economic concept of labour; (7) the discovery of work as the motive force in the process by which
man becomes human; and finally, (8) the synthetic, historical concept o f work, which embraces all these
aspects at once.