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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., 1996), 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), Aristotelian Character Education (Routledge, 2015) and Virtuous Emotions (O.U.P., 2018). Prof. Kristjánsson has published over 100 articles in international journals and is the Editor 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. (2019) Flourishing as the Aim of Education: A Neo-Aristotelian View, Abingdon: Routledge.

Kristjánsson, K. (2018) Virtuous Emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carr, D., Arthur, J. & Kristjánsson, K. (Eds.) ( 2017) Varieties of Virtue Ethics, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

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

Book Chapters

Kristjánsson, K. (2018) Virtue from the Perspective of Psychology in Handbook of Virtue Ethics, ed. N. Snow. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Varghese, J. & Kristjánsson, K. (2018) Experienced UK Nurses and the Missing U-Curve of Virtue-Based Reasoning in Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice, ed. D. Carr. London: Routledge

Huo, Y. & Kristjánsson, K. (2018) Why Is There Lack of Growth in Character Virtues? An Insight into Business Students across British Business Schools in Cultivating Moral Character and Virtue in Professional Practice, ed. D. Carr. London: Routledge

Kristjánsson, K. (2017) Teachers as Facilitators of Student Flourishing in Positive Education: What Are the Political Implications?” in  A. S. Murray, G. Slemp and M. White (eds.) Future Directions in Well-being: Education, Organizations, and Policy, Dordrecht: Springer.

Kristjánsson, K. (2017) An Aristotelian Paradigm of the Virtuous Teacher” in a Chinese translation of K. Wang and E. Campbell (eds.) Professional Ethics and the Moral Work of Teaching: Western Contemporary Research,  Fujian, China: Fujian Education Press.

Kristjánsson, K & Gulliford, L. (2017) Five Historic Philosophers Discuss Human Flourishing and Happiness in Positive Psychology: A Speculative Dialogue in Three Acts, in N. Brown, T. Lomas and F. Eiroa Orosa (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology,  London: Routledge.

Kristjánsson, K (2017) A Tale of Two Default Approaches: Some Old Answers For A New Theory in in W. Sinnott-Armstrong and C. B. Miller, Moral Psychology: Virtue and Character (Vol. 5) A Bradford Book.

Kristjánsson, K (2017) “Foreword: Giving Transcendence and Spirituality Their Due”, in Flourishing in Faith, eds. G. Ambler, M. P. Anstey, T. D. McCall and M. White (Oregon: Cascade Books).

Kristjánsson, K. (2016) The New Synthesis in Moral Psychology versus Aristotelianism: Content and Consequences in Dual-Process Theories in Moral Psychology: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Considerations, ed. C. Brand. Wiesbaden: Springer AS.

Kristjánsson, K. (2016) What Are Icelandic Teachers’ Attitudes towards Democracy in Education? (co-authors Ingimar Ólafsson Waage and Amalía Björnsdóttir) in Democracy and Decency: What Has Education Got to Do with It?, ed. P. R. Carr, P. L. Thomas, B. Porfilio and J. Gorlewski. Charlotte, NC: IAP.

Journal Articles 

Kristjánsson, K. (2018) Is the Virtue of Integrity Redundant in Aristotelian Virtue Ethics?, Apeiron, [Online].

Kristjánsson, K. (2017) 'The Flourishing–Happiness Concordance Thesis: Some Troubling Counterexamples', The Journal of Positive Psychology, [Online], pp. 1-12.

Morgan, B., Gulliford, L., and Kristjánsson, K (2017) A New Approach to Measuring Moral Virtues: The Multi-Component Gratitude Measure Personality and Individual Differences, 107 (1).

Walker, D. I., Thoma, S. J., Jones, C. and Kristjánsson, K. (2017), Adolescent Moral Judgement: A Study of UK Secondary School Pupils. Br Educ Res J, 43: 588–607.

Kristjánsson, K. (2017) Emotions Targeting Moral Exemplarity: Making Sense of the Logical Geography of Admiration, Emulation and Elevation, Theory and Research in Education 15(1): 20–37

Kristjánsson, K. (2017) Recent Work on Flourishing as the Aim of Education: A Critical Review”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 65 (1). 

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).

Kristjánsson, K. (2015) Phronesis as an Ideal in Professional Medical Ethics: Some Preliminary Positionings and Problematics, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 36 (5).

Kristjánsson, K. (2015) Grief: An Aristotelian Justification of an Emotional Virtue, Res Philosophica, 92 (4)

Kristjánsson, K. (2015) An Aristotelian Virtue of Gratitude, Topoi, 34 (2)

Kristjánsson, K., Walker, D. and Roberts, M. (2015) Towards a New Era of Character Education in Theory and in Practice. Educational Review 67 (1).