David Carr and Kristján Kristjánsson from the Jubilee Centre
went to Radboud University, Nijmegen, to examine a PhD thesis on November 19.
The thesis was entitled "Character education: A neo-Aristotelian approach
to the philosophy, psychology and education of virtue" by Wouter Sanderse.
The topic of the thesis is highly relevant to the work that is being done in
the Jubilee Centre, in particular on character education in schools. On the day
after the viva, Radboud University organised a conference on "The
development and education of virtue" with Carr and Kristjánsson as main
speakers along with a number of Dutch academics and PhD
Carr talked about different perspectives on the role of
literature in character education and Kristjánsson about the pros and cons of
the positive psychology's new virtue theory. One of the most interesting
contributions to the conference was a talk by Professor Paul van Tongeren
(Nijmegen) who argued that contemporary neo-Aristotelians had failed to
bring Aristotle's virtue theory up to date in light of the current human
condition - the kind of work that medieval philosophers did not shirk when they
reframed Aristotelianism in order to bring it to bear on medieval concerns.
About 50 people attended the conference but another 20 who wanted to enroll had
to be turned away for reasons of space. The interest in virtue and virtue education
is clearly not confined to the University of Birmingham!