Aristotelian Practical Wisdom (Phronesis) as the Key to Professional Ethics in Teaching

Abstract: This article is about a virtue ethical approach to the professional ethics of teaching, centred around the ideal of phronesis (practical wisdom) in an Aristotelian sense. It is grounded empirically in extensive research conducted at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues into teachers and other UK professionals, and it is grounded theoretically in recent efforts to revive an Aristotelian concept of phronesis as excellence in ethical decision-making. The article argues for the need for a virtue-based approach to professional practice, based on time-honoured Aristotelian assumptions and culminating in a conceptually viable construct of phronesis as a psycho-moral integrator and adjudicator. After setting some of the historical background in Sect. 1, Sect. 2 charts the most relevant empirical findings. Section 3 introduces a call for phronesis as a guide to virtue-based professional ethics: its role, nature, and methods of instruction. Section 4 adds some caveats and concerns about if and how phronesis can be cultivated as part of teacher training. Finally, Sect. 5 offers some concluding remarks about the novelty and radicality of the approach on offer in this article.

Click on the citation to read the article:

Kristjánsson, K. (2024). Aristotelian practical wisdom (phronesis) as the key to professional ethics in teaching. Topoi, 1-12.