Aristotle taught that economics is concerned with both the household and the polis and that economics deals with the use of things required for the good (or virtuous) life. As a pragmatic or practical science, economics is aimed at the good and is fundamentally moral. Because Aristotle saw that economics was embedded in politics, an argument can be made that the study of political economy began with him.

For Aristotle, the primary meaning of economics is the action of using things required for the Good Life. In addition, he also sees economics as a practical science and as a capacity that fosters habits that expedite the action. Economics is a type of prudence or practical knowledge that aids a person in properly obtaining and using those things that are necessary for living well. The end of economics as a practical science is attaining effective action.

Aristotle explains that ontologically the operation of the economic dimension of reality is inextricably related to the moral and political spheres. The economic element is integrated in real action with other realms relating to the acting human person. The various domains mutually influence one another in an ongoing dynamic fashion.

Aristotle explains that practical science recognizes the inexact nature of its conclusions as a consequence of human action which arises from each person’s freedom and uniqueness. Uncertainty emanates from the nature of the world and the free human person and is a necessary aspect of economic actions that will always be in attendance. Aristotle observes that a practical science such as economics must be intimately connected to the concrete circumstances and that it is proper to begin with what is known to us.