Culturally, idleness is widely derided as laziness, uselessness, and sloth. Even within philosophy, the idle are criticized for being wasteful, selfish, and free-loading. Indeed, throughout the history of moral and political philosophy, it is frequently asserted (though not often argued) that humans must be perpetually active, busy, and, in a word, productive? But why? Is there really nothing to be said for idling?
In Idleness: A Philosophical Essay (Princeton University Press, 2018), Brian O’Connor examines a range of anti-idleness views, and finds them lacking. He then proposes an alternative according to which idleness is a component of human freedom.