1. The Third (Catholic numbering)/Fourth (Protestant Numbering) Commandment says to keep “the sabbath day” holy and to abstain from work then.  In Jewish practice, the Sabbath day is Saturday.  In Christian tradition, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus which is believed to have been on a Sunday, it is on Sunday (except for the Seventh Day Adventists)—as well as, according to specifically Catholic tradition, on other holy days like Christmas.  Orthodox Judaism is very strict about the prohibition of work: for instance, as currently interpreted, it prohibits throwing a light switch, because the electricity is seen as analogous to fire, and making fire is seen as work.  The Christian tradition has tended to be more flexible, prohibiting manual labor and commercial activity, unless it was really quite necessary.  In present times, Catholicism calls for abstinence from the kind of work that distracts one from focusing on God (unless necessary for survival, etc.), while Protestant practice varies.

2. In Nicomachean Ethics I.1-2, Aristotle—Plato’s most famous student—gives an argument for the claim that some things we desire for their own sake.  The distinction comes from considerations like these.  If I make bridles, then I do not make bridles for the sake of making bridles but for the sake of aiding in horsemanship.  Horsemanship, on the other hand, isn’t done for its own sake, Aristotle supposes, but for the sake of military victory.  All of these things, thus, are done for the sake of something else.  But if we always did each thing for the sake of something else, then we would either have a vicious circularity—a case where I do A to achieve B and B to achieve A (an absurd possibility Aristotle doesn’t even consider here)—or an infinite regress.  1094a20.  But of course there can’t be an infinite regress.  We do not in fact have infinitely many different goals.

3. The next step is to identify what it is that is worth getting for its own sake.  Suppose someone said: “I am studying in order to earn money in order to buy so much caviar that I could everyday make myself sick by eating it.  And I want to get sick from caviar for its own sake.”  We would be puzzled.  We would first probe: “Is it that you find getting sick from caviar ‘prestigious’?  Does it symbolize something to you?  Is it perhaps a sign of success?  Or are you doing this for some ascetical reason of self-mortification?”  But if the person insisted that it was the getting sick from caviar that she wanted for its own sake, we would think her irrational.  Thus, it seems, some things are not worth having for their own sake.  Throwing up is such a thing.