We can not stress too strongly the significance of professional education. It is designed to impart specific skills and techniques relevant to a particular job. On the other hand moral education is important as well, regardless of the job he or she is engaged in. Both kinds of education are to be conducted in order to bring up a whole person, that is, a competent and virtuous man. For education of the whole person, it is necessary to explain the relation of professional education and moral education as well as the distinction of them.
The Greek word ‘techne’ is useful to bring it to light the distinction and relation of both kinds of education. Aristotelian sense of techne is contrasted with that of Plato. The former is ‘instrumental’ while the latter is ‘constitutive’. Aristotelian ‘techne’ is misused as well as employed for a good intention. Whether it is used for a good intention or not depends on the intention of a user. Therefore, Aristotle contends that what compensates for techne is phronesis, that is moral intelligence, which is concerned with action about what is good and bad for a human being.
Aristole’s distintion of techne and phronesis is grounded on the separation of production and action. However, this separation is not valid, for action has to employ different products of production. In addition, the producer, as an agent, is concerned about the virtuous action for, he or she has to consider the moral aspect involved in employing the product, and the aesthetic aspect of it.
In contrast with Aristotelian techne, that of Plato is all the time good for the object. It is not instrumental but constitutive, because diverse techne constitute a hierarchy. For example, considering hierarchy, cookery is lower than medicine, for what is really good for health is shown by the latter instead of the former. Therefore, cookery has to refer to the art of medicine. According to Plato, the art of rhetoric, the function of which is to persuade the general mass of the population, is lower than the art of politics. For the art of politics decides whether we must proceed by persuasion, or by coercive measure against a group of men or whether it is right to take no action at all.
For Plato, techne is not a mere skill or technique, since employing a techne involves refering to higher techne and influencing on the lower techne as well. In other words, observing the hierarchy of techne is not separated with virtuous action. Plato’s sense of techne shows how forming a “competent and virtuous man” is possible. Professional education, which imparts the particular skills and techniques is accompanied by teaching to observe the hierarchy of techne, that is, moral education.