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Deputy Director: Professor Kristján Kristjánsson

Kristján Kristjánsson is Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics and Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. His research orientation can best be summed up as that of Aristotle-inspired philosophical scrutiny of theories in educational psychology and values education, with special emphasis on the notions of character and virtuous emotions. He has written extensively on themes in general education, moral education, educational psychology, moral philosophy and political philosophy, and sees himself essentially as a bridge-builder between philosophy and social science. Prof. Kristjánsson is the author of Social Freedom: The Responsibility View (C.U.P., 2006)Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy (Routledge, 2002)Justice and Desert-Based Emotions (Ashgate, 2006)Aristotle, Emotions and Education (Ashgate, 2007)The Self and Its Emotions (C.U.P., 2010), Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology (C.U.P., 2013) and Aristotelian Character Education (Routledge, 2015). Prof. Kristjánsson has published over 80 articles in international journals and is an editorial board member of the Journal of Moral Education. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University, University of Konstanz, St. Edmund’s College (Cambridge University) and Institute of Education (University of London). In 1997, he was elected the Young Humanities Scholar of the Year by the Icelandic Council of Science, and in 2011 he was presented with the Ása Guðmundsdóttir Wright Award, the most prestigious scholarly award given to an Icelandic academic across the Sciences and Humanities. In 2016 he won the Society for Educational Studies Prize for the best Education book of 2015 (Aristotelian Character Education). 


Contact details

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 4877


Room 1240
12th Floor (West) Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

  • University of St. Andrews, Scotland, 1987-1990: PhD in Moral Philosophy 
  • University College of Teaching, Reykjavík, Iceland (part-time), 1984-1986: Teacher’s Diploma 
  • University of Iceland, 1980-1983: B.A.-degree in Philosophy and German 
  • Positive psychology and positive education, with special emphasis on Peterson and Seligman’s theory of virtue 
  • Well-being and education 
  • Selfhood, self-concepts (self-esteem, self-respect, self-efficacy, etc.) and education
  • The nuances of character and personality, and their moral and educational relevance
  • Professional and personal virtues and education 
  • The nature, scope and aims of moral/character education 
  • The situationist challenge to character and character education 
  • Virtue ethics and education 
  • Emotions as potential virtues and vices 
  • Aristotle’s theory of moral development, moral virtues and phronesis 
  • Justice and justice-related emotions 
  • The nature of so-called negative emotions such as jealousy 
  • Freedom as a moral concept 
Other activities

1992-1995: Chairman, University of Akureyri Research Institute
1994-2002: Vice-Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Akureyri
1997-1998: Acting Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Akureyri
1999 (spring semester): Visiting Scholar, University of Konstanz, Germany
1999-2002: Chairman, Society of Professors in Iceland
1999–2008: Chairman, University of Akureyri Evaluation Committee for Promotions and Recruitment
2000–2011: Member of the Akureyri District Hospital Ethical Committee
2001 (spring semester): Visiting Research Fellow, Cornell University, U.S.A.
2002 (spring semester): Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Education, Cambridge University, England; Visiting Fellow St. Edmund’s College
2004 (spring semester): Visiting Fellow, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University
2005–: Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Moral Education
2006 (spring semester): Visiting Fellow, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University
2009–: Member of the Editorial Board, Icelandic Journal of Educational Research
2009–2012: Chairman, School of Education University of Iceland Evaluation Committee for Promotions and Recruitment
2009 (spring semester): Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London
2012 (spring semester): Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London

Referee for journals such as Ethics, American Philosophical Quarterly, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Philosophical Explorations, Studies in Philosophy and Education, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Moral Education, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Alberta Journal of Education, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Nursing Philosophy, Journal of Positive Psychology, Social Psychology of Education, Journal of Moral Philosophy

Selected publications


Kristjánsson, K. et al. (2016) Teaching Character and Virtue in Schools. London: Routledge.

Kristjánsson, K. (2015) Aristotelian Character Education. London: Routledge.

Kristjánsson, K. (2013) Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology: A Philosophical Critique. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kristjánsson, K. (2010 hb, 2012 pb) The Self and Its Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Kristjánsson, K. (1996 hb, 2007 pb) Social Freedom: The Responsibility View. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kristjánsson, K. (2007) Aristotle, Emotions, and Education. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.

Kristjánsson, K. (2006) Justice and Desert-Based Emotions. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.

Kristjánsson, K (2002 hb, 2006 pb) Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy. London: Routledge.

Journal Articles 

Kristjánsson, K. (2016) Awe: An Aristotelian Analysis of a non-Aristotelian Virtuous Emotion. Philosophia. 

Kristjánsson, K. (2016) Recent Work on Flourishing as the Aim of Education: A Critical Review. British Journal of Educational Studies.

Kristjánsson, K. (2016) A Philosophical Critique of Psychological Studies of Emotion: The Example of Jealousy. Philosophical Explorations.

Kristjánsson, K. (2016) Jealousy Revisited: Recent Philosophical Work on a Maligned Emotion. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 19 (3).

Morgan, B., Gulliford, L. & Kristjánsson, K. (2014) Gratitude in the U.K: A new prototype analysis and a cross-cultural comparison. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9 (4).

Kristjánsson, K. (2014) There is Something about Aristotle: The Pros and Cons of Aristotelianism in Contemporary Moral Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 48 (1).

Walker, D., Roberts, M. & Kristjánsson, K. (2014) Towards a New Era of Character Education in Theory and in Practice. Educational Review, 67 (1).

Thórarinsdóttir, K. & Kristjánsson, K. (2014) Patients’ Perspectives on Person-Centred Participation in Health Care: A Framework Analysis. Nursing Ethics, 21 (2).

Kristjánsson, K. (2014). An Aristotelian Virtue of Gratitude. Topoi, 34 (2).

Kristjánsson, K. (2014) Phronesis and Moral Education: Treading beyond the Truisms. Theory and Research in Education, 12 (2).

Kristjánsson, K. (2014) Is Shame an Ugly Emotion? Four Discourses – Two Contrasting Interpretations for Moral Education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 33 (5).

Kristjánsson, K. (2014) Undoing Bad Upbringing through Contemplation: An Aristotelian Reconstruction. Journal of Moral Education, 43 (4).

Kristjánsson, K., Morgan, B., Gulliford, L. (2013) Recent Work on the Concept of Gratitude in Philosophy and Pyschology, The Journal of Value Inquiry, 47 (3) pp. 285-317.

Kristjánsson, K. (2013) Aristotelian Motivational Externalism, Philosophical Studies.

Kristjánsson, K. (2012) Selfhood, Morality, and the Five-Factor Model of Personality, Theory & Psychology.

Kristjánsson, K. (2012) Situationism and the Concept of a Situation, European Journal of Philosophy, 20 (Supplementary Issue S1). DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2011.00474.x

Kristjánsson, K. (2012) Virtue Development and Psychology’s Fear of Normativity, Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 32 (2), pp.103-118.

Kristjánsson, K. (2012) Positive Psychology and Positive Education: Old Wine in New Bottles?, Educational Psychologist, 47 (2).pp.86-105. DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2011.610678

Kristjánsson, K. (2010) Positive Psychology, Happiness, and Virtue: The Troublesome Conceptual Issues, Review of General Psychology, 14 (4). pp.296-310. DOI: 10.1037/a0020781