Kristján Kristjánsson

Kristján Kristjánsson
University of Birmingham · School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy

About

177
Publications
39,658
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2,944
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Introduction
Currently completing a project on friendship, with an OUP book coming out late this year, Friendship for Virtue. Still working on a project on phronesis, with a co-authored book with Blaine Fowers under contract with OUP for 2023.
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (177)
Article
Psychologists have actively studied wisdom for decades, but wisdom models and measures have been developed in an ad hoc manner, without the guidance of a core theory or philosophy. This has led to conceptual confusion and a lack of research cumulativeness. A four-function model of practical wisdom based on Aristotle's theory of phronesis (practical...
Article
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Background: The present study explores gender differences through a characterological lens, inspired by the positive-psychological VIA-Youth measure. Existing research on gender differences in character development has established a certain stereotype of girls outperforming boys in western culture. Methods: Based on a sample of 695 students in elem...
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According to Aristotle, the crucial meta-virtue of phronesis (practical wisdom) is cultivated through teaching and experience. But he remains mostly silent on the details of this developmental picture and its educational ramifications. This article focuses on the ‘taught’ element of phronesis development in the context of police ethics education. I...
Presentation
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Some clarifications on what "character sought" means, as distinct from "character taught" and "character caught".
Article
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Phronesis or practical wisdom-Aristotle's intellectual meta-virtue of discernment, deliberation, and arbitration-is undergoing a revival. Yet phronesis enthusiasts have recently been experiencing blowback both from philosophers and psychologists who think that phronesis has been given an inflated role in recent theorizing and that the functions it...
Article
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The main purpose of the current study was to investigate the structure or dimensionality of the official Chinese Code for Primary and Secondary-School Students as well as the “moral-character salience level” that the 35 Code items assess. Although the Code can be perceived as a major aspirational behavior document for students to follow, no previou...
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The aim of this article is to provide an overview of various discourses relevant to developing a construct of collective phronesis, from a (neo)-Aristotelian perspective, with implications for professional practice in general and business practice and business ethics education in particular. Despite the proliferation of interest in practical wisdom...
Article
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Coinciding with the recent psychological attention paid to the broad topic of wisdom, interest in the intellectual virtue of phronesis or practical wisdom has been burgeoning within pockets of psychology, philosophy, professional ethics, and education. However, these discourses are undercut by frequently unrecognized tensions, lacunae, ambivalences...
Article
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This paper is about the interplay between intuition and reason in Aristotle's moral psychology. After discussing briefly some other uses of 'intuition' in Aristotle's texts, I look closely at (a) Aristotle's notion of virtue and emotion (Section 2); (b) affinities, or lack thereof, between Aristotle's view and the Two-System (dual-process) model of...
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This paper adds ammunition to recent arguments for the possibility of online character friendships in the Aristotelian sense. It does so by exploring sustained and deep email correspondence or epalship as a potential venue for the creation, development and maintenance of character friendships, and by drawing an analogy with a historically famous ex...
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Zusammenfassung Der Beitrag gibt einen Überblick über die philosophische und psychologische Literatur zum Begriff der Dankbarkeit bis ins Jahr 2013. Geprüft werden die in beiden Wissenschaften veröffentlichten Arbeiten vor allem hinsichtlich ihrer begrifflichen Grundlagen und der ethischen Bewertung von Dankbarkeit, etwa als Pflicht, Tugend oder Su...
Article
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The concept of enters educational discourse at various levels of engagement, and it contin-phronesis ues to fascinate and frustrate educational theorists in equal measure. This article begins by charting the vagaries of three educational discourses on phronesis, and by eliciting insights from the recently burgeoning wisdom research within psycholog...
Article
This study bridges understandings of character strengths, based on McGrath and Walker’s four-factor analysis of VIA-Youth, and a key text in current Chinese moral education: The Code for Primary and Secondary Schools. We utilise two research methods, textual analysis and survey questionnaires, to garner data theoretically and empirically. Our resea...
Preprint
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“Envy and Jealousy” for Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory, ed. A. Scarantino (London: Routledge, forthcoming, 2021)
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Background Person-centred care involves respecting patients’ experiences, preferences, and needs, as well as sharing information with them and involving them in care planning. Scant research has been conducted on how it influences patients to have direct access to their care planning when it has been established through the use of standardised care...
Article
This article offers a response to some recent critiques of character education in a UK context, in general, and the approach promoted by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, in particular. The article argues that critiques of current UK character education betray an inadequate grasp of significant factions within its group of advocates, an...
Article
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The aim of this article is to make a case for Aristotelian friendship as a ‘method’ of moral education qua mutual character development. After setting out some Aristotelian assumptions about friendship and education (and revising some of those) in the “Aristotle and Beyond: Some Basics about Character Friendship and Education”section , I devote the...
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In contrast to ancient times, friendship is rarely discussed nowadays as a resource in moral education. Even within Aristotle‐inspired character education, where it could naturally claim pride of place, its coverage is miniscule compared, say, to that of the emulation of moral exemplars. The aim of the present article is to retrieve friendship as a...
Article
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This article subjects to critical scrutiny ten different discourses on emotion education: Aristotelian character education; Confucianism; Care ethics; Utilitarianism; Social and emotional learning; Positive psychology; Self-esteem discourse; Emotion-regulation discourse; Academic-emotions discourse; and Social intuitionism. Four differential criter...
Article
Many Faculties of Education in the UK and elsewhere have ‘social justice’ written into their mission statements. But are they concerned by questions of social justice in education, or has the term become somewhat vacuous and devoid of substantive meaning? The present article subjects recent discourses about social justice in education to scrutiny a...
Article
This essay introduces the present special issue on wisdom and moral education, which draws on a conference held in Oxford in 2017. Some of the seven contributions (by Sanderse; Ferkany; and Hatchimonji et al.) make use of the Aristotelian concept of phronesis, or practical wisdom, while others focus more on the wisdom concept as it has developed in...
Article
The aim of this paper is to offer an account of the grounding of deep friendships within the context of virtue ethics. While drawing on Aristotle’s justification of so-called character friendships, it goes some distance in reconciling Aristotle’s highly moralistic view with a prevalent counterview according to which we are drawn toward close friend...
Article
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The concept of ethical consumption has garnered considerable attention in recent years. Yet, it remains somewhat ‘mystical’ in the existing Western literature. The present unique cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary study offers clarification on the conception of ethical consumption from three aspects: First, this paper reflects on the nature of t...
Chapter
Aristotelianism is all the rage in contemporary virtue ethics. Yet given how anachronistic Aristotle’s account of the meta-virtue of megalopsychia seems to be, there is a tendency to pass over it in silence. This chapter argues against such a move and maintain that Aristotle’s ideal can help illuminate a number of contemporary debates. In moral psy...
Article
An adequate moral theory must – or so many philosophers have argued – be compatible with the attitudes and practical requirements of deep friendship. Bernard Williams suggested that the decision procedure required by both deontology and consequentialism inserts a fetishising filter between the natural moral motivation of any normal person to priori...
Article
Little is known about adolescent applications of the virtues such as honesty, responsibility and courage across different cultural contexts. Using the Adolescent Intermediate Concepts Measure we analyze samples of adolescents (ages 12-20 and N= 9112) from five contexts: The Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Taiwan, The United Kingdom and The United St...
Article
This article has two aims. First, to offer a critical review of the literatures on two well- known single-component solutions to the problem of a gap between moral knowledge and moral action: moral identity and moral emotions. Second, to take seriously the rising interest in Aristotle-inspired virtue ethics and character development within the soci...
Article
Aristotle claims that friendship of the highest kind – ‘character friendship’ – is stable and enduring, once established. He is sensitive to one limitation placed upon such friendships: that, owing to their extreme closeness, devotion and intimacy, they can only be actualised with a small number of people. However, Aristotle is otherwise surprising...
Article
Integrity – the darling of many contemporary virtue ethicists – does not seem to feature in Aristotle’s system. This article explores whether integrity is redundant in Aristotelian virtue ethics, even of the reconstructed neo-Aristotelian kind, in the sense that any role it could reasonably be expected to play is already adequately covered by other...
Article
A phenomenologically derived assessment tool, Hermes, was developed in a rehabilitation setting for adopting the central ideals of person-centered care and patient participation into health-assessment practices in nursing. This focused ethnographic study aimed at exploring the feasibility of using Hermes for enabling the application of these ideals...
Book
Aristotelian virtue ethics has gained momentum within latter-day moral theorizing. Many people are drawn towards virtue ethics because of the central place it gives to emotions in the good life; after all, Aristotle says that emotions can have an intermediate and best condition proper to virtue. Yet nowhere does Aristotle provide a definitive list...
Chapter
There is growing contemporary appreciation of the crucial importance of moral virtues and qualities of character for flourishing personal lives, professional conduct and general public good. Much of this latter-day recognition has drawn inspiration from the twentieth-century revival of a conception of virtue as good character, derived mainly from t...
Article
The paper illustrates how a culture of violence is perpetuated and reproduced in South Korea through schooling and argues that peace education could help transform a culture of violence to a culture of peace. Critical ethnographic methods and a framework of peace education were applied to a sample of secondary schools in South Korea to argue that a...
Article
The aim of this article is to explore and critique recent aspirations to bridge the traditional divide between subjective and objective accounts of wellbeing through a psychological concordance thesis, according to which flourishing and happiness will, for psychological reasons, go hand in hand. Two varieties of the concordance thesis are explored,...
Chapter
Martin Seligman’s (Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Free Press, New York, 2011) book Flourish set the agenda for the cluster of ideas that is now coagulating into the world movement of positive education. In this book, Seligman argues that all good (positive!) education needs to be education for flourishing. To p...
Article
Despite a recent world-wide upsurge of academic interest in moral and character education, little is known about pupils’ character development in schools, especially in the UK context. The authors used a version of the Intermediate Concept Measure for Adolescents, involving dilemmas, to assess an important component of character—moral judgement—amo...
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While interest in the emotion of awe has surged in psychology (especially positive psychology), philosophers have yet to devote a single self-standing article to awe’s conceptual contours and moral standing. The present article aims to rectify this imbalance and begin to make up for the unwarranted philosophical neglect. In order to do so, awe is g...
Technical Report
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Nursing ethics - virtues among nurses
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Despite renewed interest in moral role-modelling and its emotional underpinnings, further conceptual work is needed on the logical geography of the emotions purportedly driving it, in particular, admiration, emulation and elevation. In this article, I explore admiration (as understood by Linda Zagzebski), emulation (as understood by Aristotle) and...
Article
This article contains the responses of the author of Aristotelian Character Education (Routledge, 2015), Kristján Kristjánsson, to responses by three commentators, Randall Curren, Daniel Laspley and Christian Miller, published in this same issue of JME.
Article
This article provides a précis of Kristján Kristjánsson’s 2015 book, Aristotelian Character Education, under discussion in the present issue.
Article
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Flourishing, understood along Aristotelian or quasi-Aristotelian lines as objective eudaimonic well-being, is re-emerging as a paradigm for the ideal aim of education in the 21st century. This paper aims to venture beyond the current accounts and Aristotle’s own, by arguing that both suffer from a kind of ‘flatness’ or ‘disenchantedness’ in failing...
Article
The aim of this article is to provide a critical review of recent writings about jealousy in psychology, as seen from a philosophical perspective. At a more general level of inquiry, jealousy offers a useful lens through which to study generic issues concerned with the conceptual and moral nature of emotions, as well as the contributions that philo...
Article
In this article, an action-research project has been outlined, aimed at exploring ways for developing an assessment tool, underpinned by phenomenology, which would enhance a person-centered approach to the participation of patients in nursing assessment and care planning in rehabilitation. Participants were nurses in physical rehabilitation and a c...
Book
Teaching Character and Virtue in Schools addresses the contemporary issues of quantification and measurement in educational settings. The authors draw on the research of the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in order to investigate the concern that the conventional wisdom, sound judgement and professional discretion of teachers is bein...
Article
This article explores some of the hidden background behind the highly praised school results in South Korea. An ethnographic case study is used to cast light on how schooling is actually experienced by South Korean students. Two main results are reported from these data. First, evidence is presented of damaging cultural elements such as internalise...
Article
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Taking as its starting point a previous work by the author which reviewed early philosophical sources on jealousy and proposed both a conceptual and moral account of this much-maligned emotion, the present article reviews the relevant philosophical literature from the last decade or so. Most noticeable is how scarce those sources still are. Special...
Article
Flourishing, understood along semi-Aristotelian lines, has re-emerged recently as an account of the ideal aim of education, for instance, in works by educational philosophers Brighouse, White and de Ruyter. This article aims at critically reviewing this new paradigm by subjecting it to philosophical and educational scrutiny. Throughout I compare an...
Chapter
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The aim of this chapter is to explore the social consequences of recent developments in moral psychology aimed at psychologizing morality: developments that Jonathan Haidt terms ‘the new synthesis’ (NS). As a prelude, I diagnose what in the content of the NS undergirds those consequences and how it differs from the Aristotelian alternatives with wh...
Article
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This article argues that the dominant sustainable development approach fails to acknowledge the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of social and environmental issues, and that sustainability requires a ‘transformational’ approach, involving a fundamental change in how humans relate to each other and to nature. The authors propose that virtue e...
Article
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Review of Duckworth's book on Grit
Book
This book explores recent developments in ethics of virtue. While acknowledging the Aristotelian roots of modern virtue ethics-with its emphasis on the moral importance of character-this collection recognizes that more recent accounts of virtue have been shaped by many other influences, such as Aquinas, Hume, Nietzsche, Hegel and Marx, Confucius an...
Article
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Phronesis has become a buzzword in contemporary medical ethics. Yet, the use of this single term conceals a number of significant conceptual controversies based on divergent philosophical assumptions. This paper explores three of them: on phronesis as universalist or relativist, generalist or particularist, and natural/painless or painful/ambivalen...
Article
This article has three interrelated aims. The first is to analyze the concept of grief; the second is to argue for the putative rationality of grief (against Donald Gustafson's contention to the contrary); and the third is to offer a moral justification of grief along broadly Aristotelian lines as an intrinsically valuable trait of character a virt...
Book
This book provides a reconstruction of Aristotelian character education, shedding new light on what moral character really is, and how it can be highlighted, measured, nurtured and taught in current schooling. Arguing that many recent approaches to character education understand character in exclusively amoral, instrumentalist terms, Kristjánsson p...
Technical Report
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The Character Education in UK Schools report was launched by Professor Sir Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College, on Friday 27th February 2015 at the City of Birmingham Council House. The research project described in this report represents one of the most extensive studies of character education ever undertaken, including over 10,000 stude...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This project investigated the place of character and virtues, training and professional practice in medicine in the UK. The project aimed to identify which personal virtues medical students and experienced doctors hold and to investigate how these could influence their professional life, as compared to other values and factors. Specifically, it exa...
Article
The authors use a Bourdieuean framework of “legitimating principles” and the “symbolic capital” of dominant “discursive themes” to explore (a) the genealogy and (b) the current state of the discourse on “character education” (understood broadly as any approach to moral education that foregrounds the cultivation of moral character and moral virtue)....
Article
The aim of this article is to reconstruct two counter-intuitive Aristotelian theses—about contemplation as the culmination of the good life and about the impossibility of undoing bad upbringing—to bring them into line with current empirical research, as well as with the essentials of an overall Aristotelian approach to moral education. I start by r...
Article
This paper offers a sustained philosophical meditation on contrasting interpretations of the emotion of shame within four academic discourses—social psychology, psychological anthropology, educational psychology and Aristotelian scholarship—in order to elicit their implications for moral education. It turns out that within each of these discourses...
Article
Kristján Kristjánsson's aim in this article is to bury the old saw that dialogue is exclusively a Socratic but not an Aristotelian method of education for moral character. Although the truncated discussion in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics of the character development of the young may indicate that it is merely the result of a mindless process of b...
Article
The aim of this article is to offer a mitigated moral justification of a much maligned emotional trait, pity, in the Aristotelian sense of ‘pain at deserved bad fortune’. I lay out Aristotle's taxonomic map of pity and its surrounding conceptual terrain and argue – by rehearsing modern accounts – that this map is not anachronistic with respect to c...
Article
Whereas most latter-day Aristotelian approaches to moral education highlight the early habituation phase of moral development, they rarely have much to say, beyond truisms from the Nicomachean ethics, about the ultimate Aristotelian goal of cultivating fully fledged phronesis. The aim of this article is to repair the dearth of attention given to ph...
Article
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The present research examined gratitude in the UK, contrasted features of gratitude with those identified in the USA, and explored whether gratitude is associated with virtue. In three studies, we demonstrated that gratitude is prototypically organized; that there are cross-cultural differences between UK and US descriptions of gratitude; and that...
Technical Report
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The Knightly Virtues programme was inspired by the idea that stories of literary significance might be used in primary schools for teaching and learning about qualities of virtuous character. Devised by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, the programme was designed for 9 to 11 year olds and drew on selected classic stories to help teach m...
Technical Report
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This report presents the findings of the My Character Feasibility Study which ran from May 2011 to April 2014 and involved over 1000 young people from across the UK. The aim of the study was to develop a better understanding of how interventions designed to develop character might enhance moral formation and future-mindedness in young people. This...
Article
The aim of this article is to pinpoint some of the features that do—or should—make Aristotelianism attractive to current moral educators. At the same time, it also identifies theoretical and practical shortcomings that contemporary Aristotelians have been overly cavalier about. Section II presents a brisk tour of ten of the ‘pros’: features that ar...
Article
The aim of this paper is to offer a reconstruction of gratitude as an Aristotelian virtue. The account I propose is meant to be essentially Aristotelian although it is clearly not Aristotle’s own account. I start in section “Current Discourses on Gratitude” with an overview of recent discourses on gratitude in philosophy and psychology. I then proc...
Article
Initiatives to cultivate character and virtue in moral education at school continue to provoke sceptical responses. Most of those echo familiar misgivings about the notions of character, virtue and education in virtue – as unclear, redundant, old-fashioned, religious, paternalistic, anti-democratic, conservative, individualistic, relative and situa...
Article
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The aim of this article was to critically analyse the concept of person-centred participation in healthcare from patients' perspectives through a review of qualitative research findings. In accordance with the integrative review method of Broom, data were retrieved from databases, but 60 studies were finally included in the study. The diverse attri...
Article
Recent virtue theorists in psychology implicitly assume the truth of motivational internalism, and this assumption restricts the force and scope of the message that they venture to offer as scientists. I aim to contrive a way out of their impasse by arguing for a version of Aristotelian motivational externalism and suggesting why these psychologist...
Article
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We often say that persons need to change themselves. But what is this “self” that needs to change, and why do “selves” seem to be so resistant to change? I have argued elsewhere that who I really am, in an everyday practical sense, is who I really am with respect to the moral evaluation of me. In other words, the everyday self that (often) needs ch...
Article
: The concept of a situation underlying the debate between moral situationists and dispositionists conceals various underexplored complexities. Some of those issues have been engaged recently in the so-called psychology of situations, but they have been slow to receive attention in mainstream philosophy. I invoke various distinctions among situatio...

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