Professor Kristján Kristjánsson

Kristján Kristjánsson is Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics in 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. Professor 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), Virtuous Emotions (O.U.P., 2018), Flourishing as the Aim of Education (Routledge, 2020). Friendship for Virtue (O.U.P., 2022) and Phronesis (with B. J. Fowers, O.U.P., 2024).

Prof. Kristjánsson has published over 150 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). His 2012 book has appeared in a Korean translation and his 2015 book has been translated into Japenese and it currently being translated into Chinese.

Professor Kristjánsson is Honorary Professor at the University of Akureyri. Recently he has also taken up fractional professorial positions at Boston College and University of Iceland, while reducing his role in the Jubilee Centre to 50%.

Professor Kristjánsson’s CV can be downloaded here.  

Contact details
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 121 414 4877
  • Email: k.kristjansson@bham.ac.uk
  • Location: Room 1240, 12th Floor (West) Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham
  • 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 
Selected Publication


  • Kristjánsson, K. (2022). Friendship for VirtuesOxford: Oxford University Press
  • Kristjánsson, K. (2020) 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).
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